Ramanagara district turf war pits Karnataka Deputy CM DK Shivakumar against JD(S)’s HD Kumaraswamy

As Kumaraswamy blamed him for the fall of the coalition government, CM Siddaramaiah called the JD(S) state president a "political villain".

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Oct 25, 2023 | 8:57 PMUpdatedOct 25, 2023 | 8:57 PM

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar. (Twitter)

In the midst of a brewing war of words between Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and JD(S) state president and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, tensions escalated on Wednesday, 25 October, as Shivakumar threw an open challenge to HDK to engage in an open debate.

The discussion would centre around Kumaraswamy’s claims regarding Kanakapura and the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in 2019.

The deputy chief minister expressed his willingness to engage in this debate on various media platforms or during the upcoming winter session of the Karnataka Assembly.

Adding fuel to the fire, Shivakumar asserted that the entirety of the Ramanagara district rightfully belonged to Bengaluru, emphasising that the residents of its four taluks were, in essence, Bengalureans.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah directed his frustration towards Kumaraswamy, labelling him a potential political antagonist. The former chief minister was criticised for his posts on social media targeting Siddaramaiah.

In a counterattack, Kumaraswamy, who represents the Ramanagara Assembly segment, accused Shivakumar of potentially attempting to regularise “illegal or benami assets”.

Furthermore, he labelled both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar as “traitors” over the collapse of the coalition government.

Also read: Shivakumar wants Kanakapura back in Bengaluru; HDK sees ploy

Kumaraswamy hits out

HD Kumaraswamy came down heavily on Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar over the bifurcation of the Ramanagara district and the 2019 collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition.

Kumaraswamy, expressing anguish, accused Shivakumar of lacking education and common sense, and said he was arrogant.

In a series of posts on X, Kumaraswamy said: “Forget this birth; he cannot break the Ramanagara district in even seven more births. DyCM DK Shivakumar should realise this. The Ramanagara district has been formed after scientifically considering and checking the advantages and disadvantages of the people.”

He added: “If he now says that they will bifurcate the district and merge Kanakapura with Bengaluru, it means that the people of the whole district will turn away. Is Ramanagara a rock to be broken into pieces?”

The JD(S) leader also seemed to have been miffed by Shivakumar’s statement: “If not educated, at least intelligent people are needed for this country. I thought Kumaraswamy was wise. We should ask his father.”

The former chief minister said: “This is an arrogant attitude from Shivakumar. If there is no education, how would one become wise? He does not have common sense. This shows the level of intelligence he possesses.”

He added: “I certainly don’t have the ‘evil’ mindset, ‘extreme’ intelligence, [or] ‘extraordinary knowledge’ that affects the poor, fences the open land that belongs to others, loots the hills, sends people to foreign countries to make money, and takes the lives of those who cross its path.”

Kumaraswamy also said: “Highly valued land in Kanakapura was looted and handed over to builders. Or do they want to build a fort on the unfenced benami lands? If you tell us, we will be grateful. Everything is a mystery.”

He continued: “Several new districts — including Chikkaballapura, Chamarajanagar, Yadgiri, Koppala and Gadag — were formed. Are all these new districts formed for their names’ sake? New districts were formed keeping in mind the people.”

He added: “There was no personal interest of the chief minister while forming the new districts. Whose interest lies behind Kanakapura being integrated into Bengaluru? Everyone in Kanakapura knows the truth. Isn’t he happy with existing wealth and property? How much should he amass?”

Alleging that Siddaramaiah betrayed the coalition government, Kumaraswamy said: “Are you afraid of speaking the truth? Don’t you have the guts to say that it was me who dethroned the Kumaraswamy government?”

Also read: Deve Gowda ousts CM Ibrahim, makes HDK Karnataka JD(S) chief

Pointing to history

Asserting that it was he and his father HD Deve Gowda who played a pivotal role in the development of Kanakapura, Kumaraswamy questioned the contribution of the deputy chief minister to the mentbetter of the taluka.

The JD(S) leader said: “Do you recall the development of Kanakapura? Before 1983, in what condition were Kanakapura and Sathanur?”

He said Deve Gowda was moved to tears on seeing the situation there back then.

“There was no electricity connection, no drainage. There was no water to drink. Deve Gowda still remembers that situation. He who was the minister of public works and heavy irrigation, [and] shaped up Kanakapura and Ramanagara and changed the situation,” said HDK.

“I have continued his work. What have you (DK Sivakumar) done? Fenced the land of the poor, took the lives of those who came across it, looted the rocks, and promoted rowdyism and hooliganism in Kanakapura. Now merge Kanakapura to Bengaluru and build another mafia? Is this the thought in your head?” asked Kumaraswamy.

He further said: “Now you recall that several eminent personalities — Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, former chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaya, Tumakuru’s Siddaganga Mutt late pontiff Shivakumar Mahaswamiji, and Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji — are from Ramanagara. Who made this holy land a ‘real-estate paradise’? Do you have the courage to say the names of these saints? Does Sri Ramachandra Prabhu, who resides on Ramdev’s hill, appreciate your evil antics?”

Also read: JD(S) officially joins BJP-led NDA for 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Siddaramaiah hits back

Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah launched a scathing attack on Kumaraswamy, calling him a political villain.

The verbal duel ensued after Kumaraswamy took to X and compared him to characters from the Mahabharata.

Siddaramaiah countered, accusing Kumaraswamy of spending a week in the US when his own government collapsed during his brief tenure as chief minister.

Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysuru on Wednesday: “Kumaraswamy speaks about me watching cricket, but it was he who was sitting in the US for a week when his government collapsed. During his stint of one year and two months stint as chief minister, he spent time at the Taj West End.”

Regarding Kumaraswamy’s tweet blaming Siddaramaiah for the downfall of the government, he countered: “When Kumaraswamy spoke after the no-confidence motion in the Assembly, he had said that it was the BJP that brought down this government. I can release the document. He is saying something else now. That means he is misleading the Assembly.”

He also said, “Politically frustrated people speak nonsense. HD Kumaraswamy is speaking nonsense as he is desperate. He is more desperate than the BJP. He would not have won a single seat if he had not joined the BJP. They are dependent on each other, just like how the blind and the crippled are dependent on each other.”

Also read: Our aim is to defeat Congress, says HDK over JD(S)-BJP alliance

Shivakumar challenges Kumaraswamy

Meanwhile, Shivakumar on Wednesday challenged Kumaraswamy to participate in an open debate either on any media platform or in the upcoming winter session of the Karnataka Assembly over his claims on Kanakapura and the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in 2019.

“I am ready to debate on both issues if Kumaraswamy is willing to accept the challenge,” he said.

Shivakumar told reporters in Bengaluru on Wednesday: “The whole of what is now the Ramanagara district belongs to Bengaluru and the residents of its four taluks are Bengalurians.”

Shivakumar, who hails from the region and represents the Kanakapura Assembly segment in the district, suggested that he had a plan and a blueprint to bring the Ramanagara district under Bengaluru, and would reveal it in the days to come.

“The whole Ramanagara district belongs to Bengaluru. Magadi, Channapatna, Kanakapura, and Ramanagara are Bengaluru. I will speak about the shape this plan has to be given in the days to come,” he said, adding: “There is no urgency.”

Responding to Kumaraswamy’s remarks, Shivakumar said: “I’m not bothered about what Kumaraswamy says. What I do or the government does is important. Let Kumaraswamy or anyone else take credit for making Ramanagara a district. We, the residents of Ramanagara, Magadi, Channapatna and Kanakapura, are Bengalureans and Bengaluru belongs to us.”

Shivakumar also said he was asking the people of his constituency Kanakapura and the whole district of Ramanagara not to sell their properties and migrate.

Also read: 21 hamlets of Ramanagara earn the title of ‘tobacco-free villages’