Bangalore, Feb 2 (UNI) Strongly criticising Maharashtra leaders for favouring merger of Belgaum with their state, former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy today categorically stated that ''Belgaum will remain a part and parcel of Karnataka for ever.'' Participating at a 'Meet the press' programme organised jointly by Bangalore Press Club and Bangalore Reporters Guild here, he said to put an end to the demand of Maharashtra leaders, the previous JD(S)-BJP coalition government had successfully conducted a special Assembly session of the legislature in Belgaum.
The special Assembly session served as a lesson to Maharashtra leaders, he opined.
Criticising Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who hails from Maharashtra, for tacitly supporting the merger demand, Mr Kumaraswamy said the conduct of Mr Patil had prompted his government to hold the special Assembly session in Belgaum.
Replying to a question, he said regional parties had rendered more justice than national parties towards the development of any state and criticised the BJP and the Congress in Karnataka for failing to protect the interests of people of the state.
Strongly defending his action in pulling down the BJP government in Karnataka, Mr Kumaraswamy said the move by party leaders to take such a decision was not against any community but to halt the communal policies of BJP.
Charging the Congress with trying to defer the Assembly elections in Karnataka, he said the JD(S) was ready to face the elections anytime.
The performance of his government during the 20-month's rule and his unique 'Village Stay' and 'Jantha Darshan' programmes would remain a part of election planks for the coming Assembly polls, he added.
Unperturbed with large number of JD(S) leaders deserting the party, Mr Kumaraswamy said ''it is a common phenomena which can be seen happening in all political parties.'' UNI MV SR AM HT1615