After the drama over government formation, a new political game is playing out in Karnataka these days. It has to do with the talk of creating a second capital for the state in Belagavi, north Karnataka.
This talk is not new. The first time such a move was debated was in 2006, when Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal (Secular) was a partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ruling alliance. The state assembly had even passed a resolution saying that Belagavi should be second capital after Bengaluru.
HD Kumaraswamy is talking about it again apparently due to pressure from the BJP, now in the opposition, that fared well in north Karnataka. It has been accusing the government of being biased towards south Karnataka, considered to be a JD(S) stronghold.
The Chief Minister has now said that some government offices could be shifted to the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi.
As the debate shows no signs of dying down, let’s take a look at other states that have two capitals.
Jammu and Kashmir
This is the best, and perhaps the oldest, example of a state with two capitals. The official capital of Jammu and Kashmir is Srinagar, located in the Kashmir valley. But the government shifts to the warmer climes of Jammu during the winters, when Srinagar struggles with extremely low temperatures.
While Srinagar functions as the capital through the summer months, in October, the entire government, as well as the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, relocates to Jammu in a shift that has come to be known as the Darbar Move.
The state capital is Mumbai, the financial hub of the country. It is the most prosperous city in the state, followed by Pune that has emerged as an important industrial hub over the years.
But it is Nagpur, in the Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra, which plays the role of the second capital. The winter session of the Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) and the Vidhan Parishad (legislative council) is held in this city. It also houses a Bench of the Bombay High Court.
Himachal Pradesh is the most recent instance of a state getting a second capital. The decision to declare Dharamshala as the second capital was taken by then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in 2017, on the eve of assembly elections in the state.
The political calculation was that the move would appeal to voters in the politically dominant Kangra region. Dharamshala, a tourist destination, is also the hometown of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
Shimla, the original capital of Himachal Pradesh, interestingly, served as the summer capital of India during British rule between 1864 and 1939.
Shared Capital Cities
While some states have a second capital, there are also instances of those who share one between them.
Punjab and Haryana share the Union Territory of Chandigarh as their capital city. The city houses the secretariats of both the state governments. This is also where the High Courts of the two states function from.
A more recent example is that of Hyderabad, that has been serving as the Telengana capital and the interim capital of Andhra Pradesh, from which the former was carved out in 2014.
Andhra Pradesh is in the process of establishing its own capital city, Amravati.