Karnataka gets 31st district; govt issues notification carving Vijayanagara out of Ballari

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Bengaluru, Feb 8 (PTI) Karnataka got its 31st district with the state government on Monday issuing an official gazette notification carving out a new Vijayanagara district from the mine-rich Ballari.

The new district will have six taluks and Hosapete will be its headquarters.

Kudligi, Hagaribommana halli, Kotturu, Hoovina Hadagali, and Harapanahalli are the other five taluks.

Ballari district will have five taluks- Ballari, Kurugodu, Siraguppa, Kampli, and Sanduru.

Ballari taluk will remain its headquarters.

On November 18 last year, the state cabinet had given in principle approval for creation of Vijayanagara district.

The government's plan to create Vijayanagara district had run into opposition, especially from within the ruling BJP, including MLA Somashekar Reddy.

Minister for Infrastructure Development, Haj and Wakf, Anand Singh, who is also the and Ballari district in-charge, had anchored the efforts for the new district.

The plan for a new Vijayanagar district was first officially mooted by Chief Minister Yediyurappa in September 2019, when Singh was a disqualified legislator.

As consensus eluded meetings held in this regard in October that year, the CM had deferred a decision on it.

Many within the ruling BJP had criticised the move in 2019, stating the decision to create a new district was being taken under pressure from Singh, in return for his role in BJP coming to power.

Singh, one of the 17 disqualified MLAs whose rebellion led to the fall of the previous H D Kumaraswamy -ed Congress-JD(S) coalition government, had cited the demand for a separate Vijayanagara district as one of the reasons for his resignation from the Congress.

He subsequently joined the BJP and won from Vijayanagara seat on the party ticket.

The timing of the notification has also come at a time when Singh is said to be sulking, unhappy with portfolios allocated to him during the rejig of portfolios last month, party sources said.

Singh, who was Forest, Ecology and Environment Minister, was first moved to Tourism and was divested of Forest, leaving him with Ecology and Environment.

This was again changed and he got Infrastructure Development, Haj and Wakf.

Undivided Ballari was politically significant, comprising nine Assembly constituencies of which the Congress represents five and the BJP four.

In a note written to the Chief Secretary in September 2019, Yediyurappa had said keeping public and administrative interest in mind, it was necessary to create the new district noting that some parts of the Ballari district were about 200 km from the present headquarters.

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