Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar will lead the request of the people’s representatives to ensure a smooth passage of an amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution in Parliament, not withstanding the head start that the Congress has obtained with the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs clearing the various features of the amendment, which on receiving the assent of the President will be classified as Article 371 (J).
Sources in the State government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party told The Hindu that every effort would be made to push for an easy passage of the Bill.
The Chief Minister will camp in New Delhi when the monsoon session of Parliament starts and call upon the MPs from the State, apart from those of the Bharatiya Janata Party hailing from other States, to work for the adoption of the law.
There are 19 Bharatiya Janata Party members in the Lok Sabha and eight in Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.
An amendment to the Constitution calls for a majority support of both the Houses of Parliament, with at least two-thirds of the members present during voting extending their support.
It is common knowledge that all political parties over the past four decades have appealed to the Union government of the day to confer special status on the districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region which have, by and large, remained backward since the reorganisation of States in 1956. It is another matter that the D.M. Nanjundappa committee report has made certain special recommendations for the overall development of the region, with funds drawn from the State’s coffers, but a special provision made under the Constitution will mean a whole lot of difference.
The all-important amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution, which is coming about at a time when Karnataka is heading for elections to the Legislative Assembly, has propped up the antenna of all political parties given the fact that all of them while in power have raised the issue of a special status to the six districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
It is natural that all political parties will like to obtain a piece of the pie, and all the three parties have had a control over the region at one point of time or the other.
The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda told The Hindu that he will use his good offices to obtain the benefit for Karnataka.
“Although I headed the United Front government in 1996-97, the then Janata Dal did not enjoy the requisite strength. Karnataka has been seeking an amendment to Article 371 for a long period, and I am happy that it will come through shortly,” he said.
The former Law Minister M.C. Nanaiah, MLC, said: “we have to now work for the constitutional amendment on apolitical lines. Several governments in the past have made a plea to the Union government”.
The special status to Gulbarga, Yadgir, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary districts will translate into better employment opportunities for the local people, reservation in education and a special board to monitor the overall socio-economic development of the region.