H-K special status: Karnataka softens stance

The Karnataka government on Tuesday softened its demand for a redrafting of the parliament Bill giving special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region under Article 371 of the Constitution.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who held a breakfast meeting here with all MPs and Union ministers from his state, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde seeking the passage of the Bill in its current form and its approval during the current session.

The state government’s capitulation on the issue, comes in the wake of allegations made by various quarters that the ruling BJP’s position on the matter, will only further delay the fulfillment of a long standing demand of people of the region.

Earlier, the issue had created a controversy when the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs led by BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka Venkaiah Naidu returned the Bill to the home ministry demanding the drafting of a fresh bill after consulting the state government.

The state government also stood firm on its demand for a modification of the draft saying that the special status for Hyderbad-Karnataka should be modelled on the lines of the status granted to Telangana and not Vidharba.

It had also opposed a provision in the Bill, which gives supervisory power of the development board of the region to the governor, saying it goes against the federal principles of the country.

Mr Naidu was also present at Tuesday’s breakfast meeting, which was attended by Union ministers from Karnataka, Veerappa Moily, Mallikarjun Kharge, K. Rahman Khan andr MPs from the state.

“The unanimous opinion of all present in this meeting was that the long pressing demand of the people of the region needs to be met immediately.

In view of this I would like to request you to kindly move the Bill in its existing form and get it passed in Parliament in the current session itself,” Mr Shettar later stated in his letter to the PM.

Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Naidu said that it was up to the Central government to take a decision on the standing committee’s recommendation in the wake of the state government’s revised position.

He denied charges that the Committee’s recommendation was politically motivated and said that the members of the committee belonged to all parties.

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