Mahadayi: BJP leaders in silent mode; farmers plan to intensify agitation

Members of Raitha Sena, Karnataka, led by Viresh Sobaradmath Swami, staging a protest at Nargund in Gadag district on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A day after the Chief Engineer of Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (KNNL) received a letter from the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change about the ministry’s decision to “keep in abeyance” the earlier letter giving clearance to Kalasa-Banduri Nala Drinking Water Supply Scheme, BJP leaders and Ministers of the State seem to have gone into silent mode. Farmers of the region, meanwhile, are chalking out plans to intensify their agitation and plan to appeal for “mercy killing” if their demand is not met.

Although Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa was in Navalgund on Wednesday afternoon, he avoided meeting Mahadayi activists and also avoided presspersons in Hubballi.

Refuse to comment

BJP leaders who are Ministers in the State and at the Centre were tight-lipped on the issue and avoided responding to phone calls made to them seeking reply on the matter. While BJP leaders, on the condition of anonymity, admitted that the development was a shocker for them too, they declined to make any comment. Attempts to get a reply from district in-charge Minister Jagadish Shettar too failed while Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, who had earlier said that because of his persistent efforts Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had given the clearance for the project, had not issued any official reply till late evening on Thursday.

In Nargund, the epicentre of the Mahadayi agitation, farmers and members of the Raitha Sena, Karnataka, led by Viresh Sobaradmath Swami, staged a protest wearing black bands on their shoulders on Thursday.

Addressing the protesters, Sobaradmath Swami said politicians of all parties had let them down and even the constitutional authority, the Governor, had not bothered to listen to their plea. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had taken a partisan view on the issue.

He told The Hindu over the phone later that he would be approaching the High Court of Karnataka on the alleged failure of officials of the Governor’s office in responding to a farmers’ petition on the issue. “We will also appeal to the President for mercy killing as the farmers’ rightful plea is not heard,” he said.

Letter to CM

The former Minister H.K. Patil, in whose tenure the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project gained momentum, has written to the Chief Minister terming the development as a “great shock” and “injustice” to Karnataka . He said the development also amounted to the Union government’s disrespect to the court of law. In the letter, he explained how important the project is and urged the Chief Minister to immediately convene an all-party meeting on the issue and also to attempt again to make the Centre “open its eyes” on the drinking water scheme and seek Mr. Modi’s intervention.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 6:45:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mahadayi-bjp-leaders-in-silent-mode-farmers-plan-to-intensify-agitation/article30352138.ece

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