Deal or not, farmers still irked over mahadayi issue

Protesters say they will camp outside party office unless Yeddyurappa addresses them

Published: 26th December 2017 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2017 07:39 AM   |  A+A-

A woman farmer sips on some tea while stiing in protest outside BJP’s office in Malleswaram on Monday | Vinod Kumar T

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Just when the BJP claimed that it had clinched a deal with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on the Mahadayi issue, the party is now facing farmers’ ire. The protest outside the party’s headquarters entered day three even as it got support from farmers’ groups and other political parties.
Farmers voiced their frustrations on Monday over BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa’s absence. The farmers have made it clear that they will remain camping outside the office unless Yeddyurappa and four MPs from the northern districts of Bagalkot, Dharwad, Haveri and Belagavi make an appearance. While BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje had addressed the gathering on Saturday, no other BJP leader interacted with them until Monday evening — a fact that did not go down well with the farmers.

Vice-president of ‘Raitha Sena Karnataka’ Shankar Ambali said Monday was the 895th day of their protest that had begun on July 16, 2015. When the farmers had protested in front of BJP leader Jagdish Shettar’s residence in Hubballi in November, Yeddyurappa had assured them that he would get the sanction to release 7.5 TMCft of water from Mahadayi river for the drought-hit northern districts by December 15.

“We had told him then that if nothing was done, we would come to Bengaluru and protest in front of his office. Yesterday we heard from the media that Yeddyurappa had insulted us and asked the police to use lathicharge and drive us from here. Still we have not raised slogans against him. He should not have done this. He is also adding political colour to this protest,” Shankar Ambali said.

Pontiff of Sri Revanasiddeshwara Mahamutt, Mansur, Basavaraj Devaru called the BJP leaders who visited the office as “cruel and proud”, as no one except Karandlaje had interacted with the farmers since the protest began.Sivanna, a young farmer, said, “Today is the birthday of our former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose dream it was to supply water to farmers. It is sad that on this day we have to protest.” The protest has also found support from various farmers’ organisations in and around Bengaluru, who helped supply food, water and blankets to the protesting farmers.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in the city to attend the party’s core committee meeting on Tuesday, blamed Congress for farmers’ distress, claiming whatever work was done on the project was done when BJP was in power. “When Congress ruled the Centre and the state, it did nothing to bring water to Karnataka. The project got approval during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time in 2001,” he said. He said work on the canal started in 2007. He accused the Congress of indulging in doublespeak, as it was opposing Goa CM’s move to provide water to the state.

JD(S) offers food,farmers refuse Janata Dal (Secular) 
extended their support to the farmers as MLC T A Saravana visited them on Monday morning. When he offered them food, they refused to accept it, and instead asked him to convey to JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda to take up the Mahadayi issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Saravana called Gowda, and the JD(S) supremo spoke to President of ‘Raita Sena Karnataka’ Veeresh Sobarad math over the phone. Gowda told him he would visit them at the protest site on Tuesday. Saravana told the farmers that JD(S) leader H D Kumarswamy was not keeping, which stopped him from visiting them.


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