Bengaluru will see two strikes called by the Pro-Kannada organisations and farmers over Mahadayi River dispute in the next two weeks.
2 strikes in 11 days
The January 25 bandh called by the Confederation of Pro-Kannada Organisations president Vatal Nagaraj, will be observed throughout Karnataka and protesters will focus on urging the Centre to resolve the Mahadayi water dispute at the earliest.
The second strike will be witnessed only in Bengaluru when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in the city to attend the BJP Parivarthana rally on February 4.
The bandh has been called in order to protest against the delay in the implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri dam project, which if built will divert water from the Mahadayi river to the North Karnataka districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag. The project will improve water supplies in the aforementioned districts, which depend on the river for drinking water.
On Sunday, when Nagaraj was addressing reporters, he had to face the wrath of the farmers and a few other agitators for not having discussed the January 25 strike with them.
"Did you take our consent before giving a bandh call on January 25? We will not support it. Our intention of calling a bandh on January 27 was to pressure PM Modi to intervene in the Mahadayi issue, as he was to visit the state on January 28. Frequent bandhs are causing a lot of inconvenience to the public, who are now upset," Kannada activists were quoted as saying by the Times of India.
PM Modi was earlier scheduled to visit Bengaluru on Sunday but postponed it until February 4 owing to pending meeting over the budget.
He is currently in Davos attending the World Economic Forum.
The agitators and Nagaraj later reached a mutual understanding and decided to observe a strike on the two days.
"The all-Karnataka bandh will be observed on January 25, to pressure all political parties to solve the Mahadayi issue at the earliest. On February 4, a bandh will be observed only in Bengaluru to pressure PM Modi to intervene in the dispute," Nagaraj added.
Will the strike yield results?
However, not everybody feels that the strike will help the protesters in achieving their objective and many believe that it will rather cause inconvenience to the common man, reported The News Minute.
"Till now we have had three bandhs in the state regarding the Mahadayi issue. Did it make any difference? No, it did not. How can he call for a bandh without consulting the farmers, who are the ones being affected by this issue?" questioned a member of the Karnataka Farmers' Association Kurubara Shantakumar.
"We have to come up with new ways of agitation. What have all the previous bandhs done? Nothing. Leaders both in the Central and state governments are just cheating us. Now that a bandh has been called for, who is to say that the Prime Minister will not cancel his visit? What would be the point then?" Shantakumar added.
The farmers and agitators plan to gherao PM Modi and demand an immediate solution to the Mahadayi water dispute without further delay.
Meanwhile, the bandh has also become a topic of discussion on Twitter.
What do you have to say about this @BJP4Karnataka @CTRavi_BJP @nimmasuresh @mepratap? So far we haven't seen any statement by PM on Mahadayi issue. Is it that he doesn't care for the state which has elected 17 BJP MPs or he is not interested in solving the long-standing issue? pic.twitter.com/Q960ehbBrv— Chetan Jeeral (@chetanjeeral) January 23, 2018
Sir well come to Karnataka please salvos Mahadayi Waters issues this all problem solve sir only Drinking of Water plz sir solved only you and pm Modiji sir— Rudrappa B Bali (@BaliRudrappa) January 23, 2018
If the mahadayi chaluvali was without congress poisonous elements, things could hve moved.But sad,whoever is behind this movement ,it appears r being surreptitiously supported by congress 2 take revenge.Therefore this movement will only generate rancour and vileness.— BG.Subhash (@bgsubhash) January 22, 2018
Please support Kannada and mahadayi water for Karnataka. Dont drag the problem still more. Please solve it.— ರಾಕೇಶ್ ಪಾಂಡುರಂಗ (@RAKESHGP3) January 22, 2018
Even Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah took to Twitter to announce that the state will strive to secure drinking water from Mahadayi for the residents of the northern districts.
The abusive words used against #Kannadigas by @BJP4India Irrigation Minister from Goa are reprehensible to say the least. However, we hold no grudge against the people of Goa. We will continue to strive to secure drinking water from #Mahadayi for our people.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) January 14, 2018