HUBBALLI: Nargund town could turn into a political powder keg on Wednesday with BJP workers calling for a complete shut-down even as members of various farmers’ organizations from nine taluks in four districts of north Karnataka decided to meet in the town tomorrow, and mount pressure on the Union government for Prime Minister Narandra Modi’s intervention for a negotiated settlement of the dispute over sharing water of the river Mahadayi.
Amid unconfirmed reports of an attempt by BJP workers to attack Raitha Sene president Veeresh Sobaradmath, who led the protests in Bengaluru in support of the state’s share of Mahadayi water, local leaders of the party called for a bandh on Wednesday to protest against the move by farmers to target state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa during the stir in Bengaluru last week.
On the same day, farmers would meet to pressurize the Union government for Mr Modi’s intervention in the wake of a resolution adopted by 21 NGOs under the umbrella, Ami Goenkar (We Goans), on Monday to oppose release of water to Karnataka and seeking withdrawal of letter written by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa on the issue.
Hundreds of farmers will converge on Nargund on Wednesday to chalk out their strategy. These farmers have set a deadline of January-end to the state government to resolve the Mahadayi water dispute. A delegation is planning to visit Bengaluru to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and urge him to finalise the date for an all party meeting as well as for discussions with Prime Minister Mr Modi. The farmers have expressed resentment against “delay tactics” employed by Mr Parrikar and state BJP leaders who stated that talks would be possible only after Assembly polls, the model code of conduct. Therefore, they have also upped the ante against the state BJP leaders for failing to keep their promise despite farmers’ dharna crossing a record 903rd day on Tuesday. “We did not get any response from BJP leaders though we had given memorandum to them with a request that they allow us to meet party president Amit Shah during his visit to Bengaluru. The statements of Mr Parikkar and Mr K S Eshwarappa against holding talks before Assembly polls has hurt us. Instead, the party leaders tried to attack me despite we are not targeting any political party. We will not get scared because of threats from BJP, and will hold a meeting tomorrow during bandh call given by party leaders”, says Raitha Sene president Veeresh Sobaradmath.
The farmers have urged Congress leaders to pressurize former party president Sonia Gandh to persuade Goa Congress leaders on the issue of release of water as she has been vacationing in that state during New Year celebrations.
Meanwhile, expressing support to ongoing protests by farmers, social activist Anna Hazare, who has been touring the region, said he would also write to Mr Parrikar to permit people of Malaprabha river basin to utilize Mahadayi water for drinking purpose. He also advised the farmers to intensify the agitation on the lines of the anti-corruption movement launched by him a few years ago.
Congress: PM must help resolve dispute
The Congress in Lok Sabha sought the immediate intervention of PM Modi in resolving the drinking water problem in Karnataka on Tuesday.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, S.P. Muddahanumegowda said people, particularly those in the northern region, faced a severe water crisis. Karnataka is seeking water from the Mahadayi for meeting its drinking needs in its northern parts, where it has become an emotive political issue. “PM’s intervention is needed to resolve this issue. I request the PM to intervene and see that this water dispute is resolved,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Goa CM Manohar Parrikar has written to former Karnataka CM B.S. Yeddyurappa for negotiations to resolve the matter.