“We are protesting against Modi here at Freedom Park. Everyone with us here has come to ask Modi for the solution,” Vatal Nagaraj said.

 No Bengaluru bandh but Kannada outfits protest over Mahadayi ahead of PM Modi rally
news Politics Sunday, February 04, 2018 - 15:55

The struggle for the decades-long Mahadayi water-sharing dispute to be resolved continues, even as the Karnataka High Court stayed a citywide call for a bandh on Sunday.

The bandh was called on the same day as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city. After it was stayed by the Court, pro-Kannada organisations, under the aegis of Vatal Nagaraj, staged demonstrations at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru on Sunday.

A statewide bandh was observed on the same issue on January 25 (incidentally when BJP president Amit Shah had visited the state) disrupted normal life in most parts of Karnataka.

Speaking to TNM, Vatal Nagaraj said, “We are protesting against Modi here at Freedom Park. Everyone with us here has come to ask Modi for the solution.”

Vatal, who has been leading the protests for the cause of farmers in north Karnataka in the water-sharing dispute with Goa, said that if the BJP does not respond favourably to their demands, they will campaign against the party in the coming elections.

The Karnataka Assembly polls are set to be held in less than four months, and the incumbent Congress will face the BJP and the JD(S) for a tussle for power in one of the only states where it is still in power.

) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help in resolving the Mahadayi water dispute between the state and BJP-ruled neighbouring Goa.

"On behalf of my people, I urge you to help us resolve the Mahadayi dispute," the Chief Minister tweeted, as Modi was on a day-long visit to the state.

Siddaramaiah had also written many letters to the Prime Minister to intervene in the issue through an out-of-court settlement as the inter-state issue is currently before the Supreme Court and the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal.

Though the river Mahadayi or Mandovi flows 29 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032 km in the southern state as against 1,580 km in Goa.

Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 thousand million cubic feet of the river water to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of its people.

Karnataka plans to build two canals across the Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of the river in the state to divert and supply the water to the four districts.

The Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected the state's petition for releasing the water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.

Joining the protest, professor and acclaimed writer Chandrashekhar Patil called for the Prime Minister to speak on the issue and help resolve the long dispute in the interest of farmers.

“The stoic silence of the Prime Minister on the issue is an insult to the interests of the state and the farmers. We demand that Mr Modi prove himself to be the PM of the entire country and speak up today. He must spell out his stand on whether he will intervene or not,” The Hindu quoted him as saying.

PM Modi is in Bengaluru as part of the BJP's Parivartana Yatra, and is set to deliver a speech at the Palace Grounds in the city ahead of the assembly elections.