The war of words between Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar and Janata Dal (Secular) State president and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who are engaged in a turf war over Ramanagara politics as well as Vokkaliga leadership role, escalated on Tuesday, with the former speaking of villages of Kanakapura taluk “one or the other day” becoming part of Bengaluru.
Taking objection to a statement made by Mr. Shivakumar on prospects of villages of Kanakapura taluk (currently part of Ramanagara district) merging with Bengaluru, Mr. Kumaraswamy began a tirade against the Deputy Chief Minister. The Janata Dal (Secular) has a strong base in the four Assembly constituencies in Ramanagara district. While Mr. Kumaraswamy represents Channapatna Assembly constituency, Mr. Shivakumar represents Kanakapura Assembly constituency — both in Ramanagara district.
Comment on land prices
“Do not sell your land to people from Bengaluru. Kanakapura will grow. I cannot put money into your pocket nor can I construct houses for you. But God has given me strength to increase the value of your properties by 10 times,” the Deputy Chief Minister said at a temple function at Shivanahalli, near here. “You should remember that residents of Kanakapura belong to Bengaluru district and not Ramanagara district. In future, villages will be part of Bengaluru and land value will be calculated based on square feet. I will not discuss making Kanakapura a district headquarters in public,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister’s statement soon drew a sharp reaction from Mr. Kumaraswamy, who said that Kanakapura should remain in Ramanagara district, and that talk of Kanakapura joining Bengaluru in future was only to legalise illegal properties that have been encroached upon or bought as benami. “The only reason for his new drama is to increase the value of his properties. By saying that Kanakapura does not belong to Ramanagara, he has cheated people of Ramanagara district,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said.
Jostling for leadership
Incidentally, the two leaders, who are jostling for Vokkaliga leadership role have been involved in an exchange of words over the last few months. The two strong Vokkaligas representing the same district has also led to a turf war, especially after the State government decided to shift the medical college allotted to Ramanagara to Kanakapura, leading to protests.
The former Chief Minister asked, “Kanakapura is 52 km from Bengaluru and it is 25 km from Ramanagara. What is convenient for people? Should people travel to Bengaluru to get their work done?”