Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa on Thursday said Kannadigas must get a lion’s share of jobs available in the state, echoing the growing calls seeking reservation for locals in public and private sector employment.

“There has been an increasing clamour that the employment representations of Kannadigas in jobs in Karnataka are on the decline. It is our established and stated stand that Kannadigas must get a lion’s share in jobs available in Karnataka," Yediyurappa said in his Independence Day speech in Bengaluru.

The newly sworn in chief minister was pandering to demands by pro-Kannada organisations and others for reserving jobs for locals — a sentiment shared by other urban centres across the country that has seen heavy migration from backward states into more prosperous ones looking for better employment and quality of life. The migration has led to tensions between local groups and migrant populations, especially when it comes to the perceived imposition of Hindi as the common tongue by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government.

Bengaluru, the information technology and startup capital of the country, attracts people from all over India and the world and has faced the ‘us versus them’ debate far too often since the turn of the century. The few thriving urban centres in the country has witnessed heavy inflow of migrants in organised and unorganised sectors as governments try to expand existing cities, adding more pressure on the already inadequate infrastructure to accommodate more people.

Yediyurappa said that his government would give more importance to infrastructure in urban areas. The chief minister also said that the government would soon come out with a new industrial policy to bolster other regions of the state, attract industrial investment and, consequently, generate more jobs locally.

“I would like to reiterate and declare that this Government respects the sentiments of the people of this land. We are committed to ensuring that the self-respect and job opportunities of Kannadigas are never compromised or come under threat," Yediyurappa said.

“At the same time, in the federal structure, we are ready to offer equal opportunities to all those who come to Karnataka seeking employment opportunities," he added.

The chief minister called upon people migrating into Karnataka to adapt to the Kannada culture, lifestyle and the language without compromising or weakening their identity whatsoever.

During his speech, Yediyurappa also said his government had waived off loans to the weaver community whose conditions were worse due to “bad market conditions". His admission going against the BJP led centre that has barely acknowledged the economic slowdown in the country and lack of jobs being created.

Since taking office, the new administration has announced waivers of up to 1 lakh for the weaver community, totalling about 98.29 crore and 50,000 waiver to fishermen, totalling about 60.58 crore.

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