KARNATAKA

AHIND meet to be low-key affair

Writers want the meet to be apolitical

Staff Correspondent

TUMKUR: A convention of Alpasankhyataru, Hindulidavaru and Dalitaru (AHIND) here on Saturday will be a low-key affair compared to the one held in Hubli on July 23, according to its organisers.

The organisers on Thursday said they expected two lakh people to attend the convention. President of the Rajya Kurubara Sangha K. Mukudappa, however, admitted that preparations are on for one lakh people. There was an attempt to make the event to mark the birth anniversary of D. Devaraj Urs following reservations over it in several quarters.

Writers, senior citizens and social activists, who pledged their support to the meet on Tuesday, came out with a rider that speakers must desist from criticising Janata Dal (Secular) President H.D. Deve Gowda. K.B. Siddaiah, poet, said the meet should not be used to criticise Mr. Deve Gowda. The meet should be apolitical, he added.

V. Chikkaveeraiah, writer, and K.R. Nayak, veteran trade union leader, supported Mr. Siddaiah's views. Congress leaders, who have been helping the organisers, are quoted to have put a condition that speakers must not project the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as the next Chief Minister.

It is said that these leaders fear that the event may affect the political prospects of their leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge. They held a meeting at the residence of the former MP G.S. Basavaraju and decided to back the meet "subject to this condition.'' They preferred the event to be known as Devaraj Urs birth anniversary celebrations rather than the AHIND meet so that they can defend their attendance.

Meanwhile, AHIND's call for Madhugiri bandh on Thursday against the removal of Mr. Siddaramaiah from the Cabinet evoked poor response.

Shops in the town were closed for only two hours in the morning.

Senior leaders of the Congress and Mr. Siddaramaiah, who were expected to address a public meeting there, did not turn up.

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