Article 371(J) did the trick for Congress in Hyd-Kar region

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Bangalore, May 10: The UPA government's efforts to amend Article 371(J) of the Indian Constitution did not go waste, at least the results in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region in the recently held assembly elections show that.

The voters of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region comprising Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Yadgir, Koppal and Bellary districts acknowledged the UPA government's favour by electing 25 Congress candidates in 40 constituencies.

The JD(S) and BJP got four seats each in the region while the KJP and BSR Congress got three seats each.

The Congress won seven of the nine seats in Gulbarga while it suffered a setback in Bidar district where it failed to retain its seat won in the last elections. Most Congress candidates who won from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region were in favour of make Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge as the chief minister for they believed that being the senior-most leader in the party, Kharge could develop the state in the right direction.

The Congress had relied heavily on Article 371(J) which gave special status to all six backward districts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to reap electoral benefits.

The Congress leaders spared no effort in convincing voters of the Hyderabad-Karnataka districts, particularly Koppal and Bellary, about the importance of Article 371(J) and how it could change their lives, both economically and socially.

Kharge and former Chief Minister Dharam Singh, who had spoken in favour of the article, were glad to see their sons winning from Chittapur and Jewargi constituencies in Gulbarga district, respectively.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, during his pre-poll visit to Sindhanur in Raichur district, also focussed on the article and said his party was committed to bring positive changes in the lives of the people in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

What is Article 371(J)?

This article grants special status to six backward districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region to establish a separate development board. This board will undertake the responsibility to see that adequate funds are allocated for the development of the said region.

The article also calls for local reservation in education and government jobs (domicile requirement).

By domicile requirement, it means one must be a resident of the given area for getting admission in college, job, land purchase, contesting elections.

The 118th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in September by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to insert Article 371(J). A resolution to make special provisions for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region was passed by the Legislative Assembly and Council of Karnataka in March 2012.

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