The Karnataka cabinet on Wednesday gave in principle approval for the creation of Vijayanagara as the state's 31st district, carving it out from the mine-rich Ballari.
"After informal discussions we have taken a decision for the creation of Vijayanagara district. All the details in this regard will be shared after the next cabinet meeting," Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said.
The cabinet has in principle agreed for the creation of Vijayanagara district, he told reporters.
Minister for Forest and Ballari district in-charge Anand Singh, who anchored the efforts for the new district, said the demand for it was long-standing.
"It was an aspiration to have a separate district that included the then capital of a Hindu empire (Vijayanagara empire) Hampi. Today our Chief Minister and all the cabinet colleagues have discussed it seriously and have given approval to it," he said.
The dream of the people from western taluks of the Ballari district had been fulfilled, Mr Singh said.
The decision has been arrived at by ensuring that none was hurt and by taking everyone into confidence, after discussions with senior leaders and legislators from Ballari district including Minister B Sriramulu, he added.
The government's plan to create Vijayanagara district had earlier run into opposition, especially from within the ruling BJP, including Sriramulu, MLAs Somashekar Reddy and Karunakara Reddy.
As consensus eluded meetings held in this regard in October 2019, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had deferred a decision on this.
Mr Singh, one of the 17 disqualified MLAs whose rebellion led to the fall of the previous HD Kumaraswamy government, had cited the demand for a separate Vijayanagara district as one of the reasons for his resignation from Congress.
He subsequently joined BJP and won from Vijayanagara seat on the party ticket.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Sriramulu, who hails from Ballari, said, there were a lot of confusions regarding the bifurcation of Ballari district.
"The demand for Vijayanagara district is a long standing one, as the place has a lot of history. With efforts from all of us including Anand Singh things have moved further. It was informally discussed in the cabinet and the government will take a final decision," he said.
Ballari, which is also politically significant, comprises nine assembly segments of which the Congress had won five and the BJP four in the 2018 polls.
In a note written to the Chief Secretary in September last year, Yediyurappa had said keeping public and administrative interest in mind, it was necessary to create the new district with six out of 11 taluks in Ballari district with Hosapet as its headquarters.
Noting that some parts of the Ballari district were about 200 km away from the present headquarters, the Chief Minister had then said it was causing inconvenience to farmers, poor, labourers and common people.