The Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) received a shot in the arm on the eve of the urban local body (ULB) elections in Gulbarga district after social activist and president of Jaya Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Arunkumar Patil, joined the party in the presence of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa here on Friday.

Welcoming him into the party, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the presence of youngsters like Mr. Patil and his followers would further strengthen the KJP and help in realising its aim of capturing power in a majority of ULBs.

Claiming credit for the amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution that provides special status to the Hyderabad Karnataka region, Mr. Yeddyurappa said it was due to his initiative that both Houses of the State legislature unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union government to amend the Article.

He said the amendment should have been made immediately after the reorganisation of States, and the blame for the delay should rest with national parties that had little interest in developing the State and its backward regions.

Stressing the importance of regional parties, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the absence of a strong regional outfit all these years had denied Karnataka its due share from the Union government. States like Tamil Nadu, where regional parties were in power since 1967, dictated terms to the Union government and got their due, whereas States like Karnataka, that had been ruled by national parties, had to go to New Delhi with begging bowlsto get their due. Earlier, addressing election meetings at Rajapur, Mahatma Basaveshwar Nagar and Ganga Nagar, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the public response to the KJP was very good and the support extended by Muslims to the KJP was overwhelming. He said that during his tenure as Chief Minister he had released Rs. 200 crore to the Gulbarga City Corporation, and promised if the KJP came to power in the council, Gulbarga would be made a model city.

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