Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar launched the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for Hyderabad Karnataka in Mannaekhalli, of Humnabad taluk, on Sunday.

“The BJP is committed to the development of north Karnataka. In the last five years, we have spent over Rs. 3,000 crore on special schemes to this end, apart from implementing routine programmes,” he said. As of now, the total amount of funds spent on implementing the Nanjundappa panel’s report has reached the Rs. 10,000 crore-mark, which includes around Rs. 4,000 crore spent since 2008, he said.

Mr. Shettar said party high command had announced his candidature for the Chief Minister’s post. “This is a sure signal that north Karnataka remains the focus of the BJP,” he said. He said the BJP was always in favour of special status for Hyderabad Karnataka. The BJP supported the Bill in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. “We will take all steps to ensure proper implementation of the amendment to Article 371,” he said. “Some of our leaders went to jail for corruption. They have paid for their actions. This does not mean the BJP is responsible for their actions,” he said, and promised a clean, scam-free government if his party was voted to power.

He appealed to the people to vote for Basavaraj Patil Ashtur, the party’s candidate for Bidar South, who “is known for his integrity and simplicity”, according to Mr. Shettar.

Taking a dig at Ashok Kheny, Dr. Ashtur’s rival in the constituency, he said: “those who have looted the state through the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Project, have come back to loot their native district. Don’t let them fool you. Choose the right candidate.”

Raghunath Malkapure, MLC, said the Congress had no right to claim full credit for the amendment to Article 371. He added that it would not have passed without BJP support.

‘Victory for the State’

Gulbarga Special Correspondent writes:

At an election meet in Shahbad of Gulbarga district, Mr. Shettar took strong exception to the Congress for claiming credit for getting the amendment passed.

He said the passing of the amendment was a victory for the entire State, and all political parties had played a role in this achievement.

The Chief Minister said that the people of the State would give a fitting reply to the Karnataka Janata Paksha in the May 5 polls, and show them their place in politics. Nobody in the party can be blamed for Mr. Yeddyurappa’s decision, Mr. Shettar added.

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