A political slugfest continued on the eve of the bandh call given by a few Kannada organisations over the Mahadayi row, with the principal Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party accusing the Congress of instigating the bandh and the latter charging the BJP with indulging in such criticism for political gains.
BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who addressed a rally as part of the ongoing Parivarthana Yatra in Madikeri on Wednesday, reiterated the allegations that the two bandh calls in the State on January 25 and February 4 — coinciding with the visits of BJP national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, respectively — were instigated by the Congress.
“The BJP will call for bandh in all districts to be toured by AICC president Rahul Gandhi during his scheduled visit to the State,” he said.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, who toured Kodagu as part of the rally, addressed a public gathering and expressed displeasure over the attitude of a few organisations which, he said, were indirectly supporting the Congress by calling for the bandh.
“The Congress is instigating various organisations to call for bandh on January 25 so as to coincide with the BJP’s rally in Mysuru, in which Mr. Shah will participate. But this will not deter party supporters from participating in the rally,” said Mr. Yeddyurappa.
Meanwhile, responding to BJP’s criticism, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysuru that the Congress had nothing do with the bandh call. “Such criticisms are being levelled for political gains in the run-up to the elections,” he said.
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is touring Mysuru region since two days, remarked on Tuesday that the BJP was more worried about the poor turnout to the Parivarthana rally and was hence making wild allegations. He referred to the empty chairs in the previous rally attended by Mr. Shah and said that the party leaders fear a similar scenario unfolding in Mysuru.
Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda said the bandh call will not help resolve the problem.
Speaking to reporters at Madhugiri in Tumakuru district on Wednesday, he said the tribunal will give its final verdict on the Mahadayi issue and if it is not in our favour, he will fight to safeguard the interests of the State.