BENGALURU: Farmers agitating for the implementation of the Mahadayi project to solve the drinking water problem in northern Karnataka left State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa red-faced as they refused to withdraw their protest on Tuesday. The day saw heightened emotions with the farmers accusing the Karnataka BJP of backtracking on its assurance to resolving the Mahadayi water sharing issue with Goa and Yeddyurappa stating that the ball is now in the Karnataka government’s court.
The farmers who have been protesting in front of the BJP office in Malleswaram for the past three days hoped that Yeddyurappa would come out with a solution. But when their meeting did not yield any result, they declared that they will intensify their agitation.North Karnataka is all set to witness a dawn-to-dusk bandh on Wednesday. The bandh, called by Mahadayi Kalasa Banduri Nala Horata Samanvaya Samiti, an umbrella organisation spearheading the agitation, is being supported by several pro-Kannada and other organisations. Terming the bandh as a “warning bell” to the state and Central governments, the samiti leaders on Tuesday demanded a solution at the earliest, even as they hit out at political parties for playing politics on the issue.
The bandh is likely to have an impact in Gadag, Dharwad, Bagalkot, Hubballi, Bailahongala and neighbouring areas. Nargund in Gadag and Navalgund in Dharwad have turned into a virtual fortress with police making elaborate security arrangements as these towns had witnessed violence last year.
During the course of the day, prior to Yeddyurappa’s meeting with the farmers in Bengaluru, representatives of several organisations met the farmers and expressed their solidarity. Among those who visited the farmers included Water Resources Minister M B Patil, BJP MLC Ramachandre Gowda, members of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and Advocates Association of Bangalore.
Yeddyurappa arrived in front of the party office to meet the protestors in the evening, after the core committee meeting of the party concluded. The meeting was shifted to Yeddyurappa’s residence in Dollar’s Colony due to the ongoing protest.
The farmers who had insisted that they would not withdraw the protest until Yeddyurappa visited them, were left disappointed after he gave no assurance.According to members of the Karnataka Raita Sene, Yeddyurappa said that he would solve the problem only if BJP was elected to power. This evoked a strong response from the farmers, who did not allow Yeddyurappa to speak forcing him to address the media near the protest site.
■ Famers continue to protest in front of BJP office in B’luru
■ Accuse BJP of going back on its word
■ Many organisations, netas visit protest venue, offer support
■ Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce too extends support
■ BSY meets farmers in the evening after party meeting
■ Says he has done his best, it is up to the state government
■ Disappointed farmers say they will intensify the protest
■ North Karnataka to observe bandh on Wednesday
BJP TOO TO LAUNCH PROTEST
Irked by the farmers’ protest in front of the party office, BJP has decided to launch a protest in front of Congress office. According to State BJP officials, Congress is politicising the issue as it fears that the credit for the project will go to BJP