Hubballi: Scores of farmers who converged on Nargund town to draw up their strategy on the Mahadayi water row, set a deadline for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to lead a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek his intervention for an amicable settlement between riparian states, even as the epicenter of protests over last three years witnessed a BJP-sponsored shut-down, on Wednesday.
These farmers demanded the Chief Minister to seek an appointment with Mr Modi before February 22, and asked the leader to join a protest by farmers' leaders and leaders of Opposition in New Delhi before calling on the PM. "Our agitation is not against any party, but to ensure that farmers of Malaprabha river basin get Mahadayi water. We will intensify our agitation against the state government if it fails to meet our demand on meeting the PM," leader Veeresh Sobaradmath told Deccan Chronicle.
Farmers also resolved that elected representatives should quit their seats in case they make up their mind to join the agitation.
Meanwhile, the bandh called by BJP leaders in Nargund town was total and peaceful as party workers took to the streets at 5 AM, and ensured that owners of shops and commercial establishments kept the shutters down. They marched through the town, beating drums and shouting slogans against Congress leaders for allegedly instigating protests by these farmers. They charged Veeresh Sobaradmath with colluding with Congress leaders to tarnish the image of BJP president B S Yeddyurappa during protests in Bengaluru though the leader had earmarked Rs 100 crores and unveiled the foundation stone for Kalasa Banduri project.
Later, former ministers Basavaraj Bommai and C C Patil charged the Congress with politicizing the issue, and misleading farmers. They alleged that Mr Siddaramaiah and former Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi failed to persuade party leaders in Goa to pressurize CM Manohar Parrikar even though Yeddyurappa secured an assurance that he would abide by the decision taken at a meeting of leaders of all parties a few months ago.