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Hyderabad's hate-free invite to Bangalore’s tech companies

D.K. Shivakumar has reacted to K.T. Rama Rao's comment by saying his party would 'restore the glory' once it returns to power
Basavaraj Bommai.
Basavaraj Bommai.
File photo

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 06.04.22, 02:52 AM

An open invitation from Telangana IT minister K.T. Rama Rao to Bangalore’s tech companies to migrate to his state, with the jibe that it focuses on infrastructure and not “halal and hijab”, appears to have rattled Karnataka’s BJP government as well as the Opposition.

Rao’s call follows a warning from Bangalore-based entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw that Karnataka would lose its “global leadership” in information technology if it carried on with “communal exclusion” — an allusion to recent efforts to marginalise minorities in the state.

State Congress president D.K. Shivakumar has reacted to Rao’s comment by saying his party would “restore the glory” of Bangalore once it returns to power following next year’s Assembly polls. Former chief ministers P.C. Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy have accused the state government of spoiling the investment climate in the state.

A defensive chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, told reporters that the issues facing the state were not new and that “making statements” would not solve anything.

Rao had issued his invite to Bangalore’s tech firms in a tweet that said: “Pack your bags & move to Hyderabad! We have better infrastructure & equally good social infrastructure.”

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi politician’s tweet came in the context of a Bangalore-based tech entrepreneur’s complaint against the city’s infrastructure woes.

Ravish Naresh, founder of and the Khatabook digital services start-up, had tweeted about “bad roads, almost daily power cuts, poor quality water supply, unusable foot paths” in India’s IT capital.

Shivakumar, who pitches himself as the next chief minister if his party wins, responded: “@ktrtrs, my friend, I accept your challenge. By the end of 2023, with Congress back in power in Karnataka, we will restore the glory of Bengaluru as India’s best city.”

Rao responded: “Dear @DKShivakumar Anna (brother), I don’t know much about politics of Karnataka & who will win but challenge accepted. Let Hyderabad & Bengaluru compete healthily on creating jobs for our youngsters & prosperity for our great nation. Let’s focus on infra, IT&BT, not on Halal & Hijab.”

Karnataka has over the past few months witnessed official and unofficial bans on the hijab from campuses, halal meat from Hindus’ plates, and Muslim shopkeepers from temple festivals, apart from attacks on Christian churches and prayer halls and a bill against forced religious conversions.

Currently, a campaign is on — coinciding with the onset of Ramazan — against the use of loudspeakers to call for azan from mosques.

“The state will develop and investments will flow in only when there is peace in society,” Siddaramaiah, leader of the Opposition, told reporters on Tuesday.

“There will be no fresh investments or employment generation if the law-and-order situation is not good.”

Congress lawmaker and former IT minister Priyank Kharge said: “KTR has invited all IT companies saying Hyderabad has better social infrastructure. What is the meaning of social infrastructure? It is the right investment climate and social conditions. All this (targeting of minorities) is happening in Karnataka since Bommai has become a puppet in the hands of the RSS.”

Janata Dal Secular leader Kumaraswamy, who had earlier called Bommai an “RSS puppet”, reaffirmed the charge. “Is there any doubt about that? He is functioning like that (a puppet),” he said.

Bommai avoided direct answers to reporters. “There won’t be any solution just by making statements. You know several issues have come up. But none of them are new,” he said on Tuesday.

“We haven’t issued any new orders (on azan). We will take everyone into confidence and take steps to maintain peace and harmony.”

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