Mangaluru: With many in Mangaluru upset at the Union govenrment's decision to merge the Vijaya Bank, which had its origins in Dakshina Kannada, with the Bank of Baroda, the issue seems to be fast gaining political colour ahead of the looming Lok Sabha poll.
While Congress leaders led by MLC, Ivan D'Souza held a hunger strike before Gandhi statue near the Town Hall against the merger on Tuesday, former MLA, J R Lobo is scheduled to hold a protest against it on Thursday.
Many Mangalureans believe Vijaya bank will lose its identity once it is merged and feel the Centre should preserve it considering its service of several decades to society.
As Vijaya Bank was founded by the late A B Shetty with the help of the Bunts, the community and the people of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, have a sentimental bond with it. With the Bunt community being one of the strongest in the coastal region, annoying it could cost political parties in the LS poll.
"Congress leaders may be protesting for political reasons. But the BJP should be blamed for giving them this weapon to beat it with," said activist, M G Hegde, recalling that when the Congress gave in to protests against the proposal to name the Lighhouse Hill Road after Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty , former chief of Vijaya Bank, the BJP had used this to target the party during the May assembly poll.
" People are angry as BJP MPs, Nalin Kumar Kateel and Shobha Karandlaje have not objected to the merger, " he added.
Mr Kateel, and Ms Karandlaje have, meanwhile,met the finance minister to urge him to reconsider merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda and retain the name 'Vijaya Bank.'...