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BJP split over formation of Vijayanagara district, Reddy brothers continue to oppose

Ballari

The Karnataka Cabinet’s go-ahead for bifurcation of Ballari district has, on anticipated lines, antagonised the Reddy brothers and their supporters in the region. Ballari city MLA G Somashekar Reddy has spoken to the media saying the announcement has ‘pained’ him and he will continue to get the government to reverse their decision. On November 18, after the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister Madhuswamy told reporters that the green-signal for creation of Karnataka’s 31st district has been given in principle and the details will be made public after the next Cabinet meeting.

Speaking just a day after the Cabinet decision, Somashekar Reddy told reporters that he will once again try to lead a delegation of legislators from the region who are against the bifurcation, and meet the CM. A protest has been planned in the district on Thursday to oppose the bifurcation of Ballari to carve Vijayanagara from western taluks of Ballari centred around the former capital of the Vijayanagar empire, Hampi.

Since 2019, when CM BS Yediyurappa responded to the request made by MLA Anand Singh, the Reddy brothers have made it clear that they do not support the government decision and even met the CM a few times to persuade him to drop the idea. Anand Singh, who left Congress to join BJP paving the way for the Yediyurappa government, had put forth the creation of Vijayanagara district as one of the prime conditions for extending his support. Despite multiple attempts by the CM to bring all leaders from Ballari on the same page, the Reddy brothers and their close aide and deputy CM Sriramulu strongly objected to it.

The Reddys have maintained the bifurcation is a selfish demand by Forest Minister Anand Singh to further his political ambition, and say this will have catastrophic repercussions for the people of the region. Even as Yediyurappa yielded to this demand, the Reddys are in no mood to concede, with dominationation of the iron-ore rich region at stake.

Sources in Ballari say that with their political future hanging in balance, Somashekhar Reddy and Sriramulu plan to continue activating those against the bifurcation to raise their voices and express disapproval. And despite Yediyurappa having asked them to not publicly object the formation of Vijayanagar, they intend to express their unhappiness openly to one of the two ends – either have the government to rollback the announcement, or to win the ebbing confidence of their votebase to assert their hold on the region.
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