Vijayanagar will be the 31st district of Karnataka and will be carved out of mine-rich Ballari district in the northern part of the state. On Wednesday, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's Cabinet gave in-principal approval for the same.
"After informal discussions, we have taken a decision for the creation of Vijayanagara district. All the details in this regard will be shared after the next cabinet meeting," Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The decision is being seen as a win of Forest Minister Anand Singh who had been anchoring the campaign for the creation of Vijayanagar district.
Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Singh said, "It was an aspiration to have a separate district that included the then capital of a Hindu empire (Vijayanagara empire) Hampi. Today our Chief Minister and all the cabinet colleagues have discussed it seriously and have given approval to it", adding that the dream of people of western taluks of Ballari district was fulfilled.
In 2019, Anand Singh, then a Congress MLA, resigned from the party with some other legislators which eventually resulted in the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government. He had alleged that the Congress and the government were not paying heed to his demand for the new district.
After he joined BJP, the chief minister had agreed to his demand but the plan was put on hold following strong opposition from senior BJP leaders from Ballari district including current Cabinet minister B Sriramulu, and brothers of mining baron and former minister G Janardhana Reddy.
G Somashekhar Reddy, the MLA from Ballari city Assembly and brother of Janardhana Reddy, had termed the proposal as "selfish" and voiced opposition against the CM for agreeing to the demand. He along with other BJP leaders, farmers and advocates took to the streets against the proposal.
The new district
Six out of 11 talukas of Ballari district - Hosapete, Kampli, Hagaribommanahalli, Kottur, Hadagali and Harappanahalli - are likely to become the part of Vijayanagar district, with Hosapet as its headquarters. The Cabinet is likely to be added to the new map and the talukas in the next meeting.
Being a big district, Ballari comprises nine Assembly constituencies and some parts of the district are as far as 200 km from the present district headquarters, causing inconvenience to students, farmers, poor, laborers and common people.
According to PTI, Chief Minister Yediyurappa, in a note written to the Chief Secretary last year, had said that the creation of the new district was necessary keeping in mind public and administrative interests.
Importance of Ballari
Rich in minerals, Ballari is one of the most important of the state. Ballari city in the district is one of the most populous cities in Karnataka. Bellari was a part of the first Indian commercial flight from Karachi to Madras in 1932 by JRD Tata.
Politically, the district is home to powerful mining baron Janardhana Reddy and Social Welfare Minister B Sriramulu and Forest Minister Anand Singh. Out of the nine Assembly constituencies, Congress represents five and the rest four seats are held by the ruling BJP.