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Home > News > PTI

2006: Year of political turmoil for Karnataka

Bharathi Raghunath in Bangalore | December 16, 2006 10:36 IST

The fall of the Congress-led government through a political coup leading to a new Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition, arrest of two Pakistani militants and the row set off by bribery allegation against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy made 2006 an eventful year for Karnataka.

A dramatic coup staged by JD(S) working president H D Kumaraswamy after he led a revolt within the party to withdraw support to JD(S)-Congress coalition led to the collapse of the 20-month-old Dharam Singh government.

Kumaraswamy, the 46-year-old film producer turned politician, took oath as Karnataka's chief minister and BJP's B S Yediyurappa as deputy chief minister on February 3. Hardly had the government settled down when it had to deal with sporadic violence in the country's IT capital following the death of Kannada film icon Rajkumar, who left an indelible mark on the state's film industry during his career spanning five, on April 12.

The state witnessed an undeclared bandh during the actor's funeral as violence marred the event with emotion-choked fans of Rajkumar went beserk in the city, pelting stones and torching vehicles. Seven lives were lost in police firing on mobs and violence.

Bringing to light once again terror threat to Karnataka, 2 militants of Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Al-Badr, who plotted to target the Central Institute of Regional Languages -- a reputed institute in Mysore that attracts foreigners, were arrested.

In a major breakthrough, seven Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants were arrested in connection with a shootout in the Indian Institute of Sciences in Bangalore that left a former New Delhi IIT professor dead.

Hardly had the JD(S)-BJP government settled down when suspended BJP legislator Janardhana Reddy's allegation that Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and Forest minister Chennigappa had collected 150 crore from mine owners in Bellary district, sent the coalition into a spin.

Since the allegation was made during the legislature session, it led to bedlam in both the Houses with Opposition Congress demanding the resignation of the chief minister and a CBI probe into the bribery charges.

The clamour on bribery issue had hardly receded when the coalition government received yet another jolt with former Karnataka deputy chief minister and founder of JD(S) Siddaramaiah resigning from his assembly membership, setting the stage for his formal induction into Congress.

Karnataka saw a historic occasion when the state legislature held its session for the first time outside state capital -- in Belgaum. The special session was convened with the specific purpose of assuring people of north Karnataka that the government will expedite development programmes in their backward region.

The session also passed a resolution urging the centre to implement the Mahajan Commission report on the boundary row between the state and Maharashtra.

It was also decided that Bangalore would shed its anglicised name and be rechristened as 'Bengalooru.' Likewise, 10 other cities with anglicised names across the state will undergo a name change.

The state was once again in limelight with Kannada film actress Jayamala creating a furore by claiming that she had touched the feet of Lord Ayyappa at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala 20 years ago, violating a ban on the act by girls who have attained puberty.

Bangalore was in news again with Flying Officer Anjali Gupta dismissed from service following a court martial, which found her guilty of five of the seven charges against her, including that of insubordination. Gupta, in turn, had alleged sexual harassment by some of her seniors in the force.

The Dasara festival celebrated with much aplomb in the state had hardly ended when communal violence raised its ugly head in Mangalore, claiming two lives and leaving 67 injured. The violence, which erupted after Bajrang Dal activists stopped a vehicle carrying cattle to a slaughter house, brought normal life in Mangalore district to a grinding halt for two days.

The Students of Islamic Movement of India is suspected to be behind clash and its role is being probed by the state home department.

Bangalore IT.IN, the ninth edition of Karnataka Government-driven information technology exposition, logged out with the government announcing building of a 9000-acre knowledge city at Bidadi near Ramanagram between Bangalore and Mysore.

The Karnataka-Maharashtra boundary dispute continued to fester with the Centre withdrawing its affidavit in the Supreme Court that the suit filed by Maharashtra on the boundary row was 'not maintainable in law.'

The last month of the year saw former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Congress winning Chamundeshwari assembly seat in Mysore with a wafer thin margin of 257 votes against JD(S) candidate Shivabasappa in one of the bitterest poll battles in the state in recent times.

The defeat came as a setback for ruling JD(S)-BJP combine in a fight that was also crucial for Siddaramaiah not only to score political points only over his bete noire JDS supremo H D Devegowda but also to consolidate his own position in Congress, which he joined earlier this year.

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