KARNATAKA

Minister cooks breakfast for farmers on highway

Staff Correspondent

A happy G.T. Deve Gowda returns to Mysore

MYSORE: For Minister for Cooperation G.T. Deve Gowda, it was a protest he would remember forever. On Saturday, he became the first Minister of the Janata Dal (S)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government to participate in an agitation against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal verdict in Mandya district.

The Minister was forced to sit in a dharna on the highway for over three hours. He ate food that was cooked on the road and raised slogans demanding justice for farmers. Despite knowing that it was difficult for him to pass through Mandya on the Mysore-Bangalore Expressway because of frequent roadblocks, the Minister left for Bangalore from Mysore in the morning.

But the protesters at Haleboodanur stopped his car at 7.30 a.m. They asked him to get down and join the dharna. Without a second thought, the Minister obliged them.

Mr. Deve Gowda had food with over 500 protesters squatting on the highway.

The Minister returned to Mysore although the farmers allowed him to continue his journey.

The Minister told The Hindu that he was happy to spending time with farmers in their agitation. "I appreciated their humanitarian nature even while fighting for a cause. They were not causing inconvenience to essential and emergency services despite blocking the road," he said.

Train services hit

Train services between Mysore and Bangalore were disrupted for some hours when farmers turned the railway track at Gejjalagere, 10 km from Mandya, into a kitchen and cooked food.

Samiti begins stir

The Cauvery Raitha Hitarakshana Samiti launched a relay dharna in Mandya on Saturday. Led by former MP G. Made Gowda and Mandya district in-charge Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy, and elected representatives took part in the dharna.