(G.N.S) Dt. 23
A bandh for a bandh appears to be the latest strategy in tit-for-tat politics. BJP has threatened to call a “counter-bandh” between February 10 and 12 when Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be in Karnataka, in retaliation to what it sees as a Congress move to call a bandh over the Mahadayi dispute on February 4 when PM Modi will be visiting.
Kannada Chaluvali leader Vatal Nagaraj has called for a Karnataka bandh on January 25 and sought the support of the Hubballi-based Kalasa-Banduri Samanvaya Samiti and Kannada activists. The activists, who are irked by the PM’s stand on the Mahadayi issue – that the riparian states must reach a resolution – have called for a Bengaluru bandh on February 4 demanding his intervention. They plan to stage a demonstration when the PM comes visiting. Now, a third bandh may be in the offing during Gandhi’s visit.
Modi will be in Bengaluru on February 4 to address BJP’s Parivartana Yatra’s valedictory. BJP leaders Prahlad Joshi and Jagadish Shettar alleged that Congress was behind the bandh call on a Sunday, aimed at hampering the PM’s rally.
No question of PM Modi skipping rally, says BJP
BJP leaders Prahlad Joshi and Jagadish Shettar threatened to do the same when the Congress president visits the state from February 10 to12.
On Monday, the BJP state leadership went into a huddle, trying to find a way toensure theFebruary rally is unaffected, since it will mark Modi’s kickoff of the party’s poll campaign. “There is no question of Modi skipping the rally as it was postponed from January 28 to February 4 only to accommodate his engagements. If Modi does not come, it will send wrong signals that BJP has buckled under pressure from some organizations,” source said.
The party is worried about January 25 as well since BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to address a rally in Mysuru on that day. The event has been fixed at 4pm, which will give cadresenough time to mobilize a crowd since the bandh is from 6am to 6pm. “A decision on February 4 will be taken when Shah comes on January 25,” a BJP functionary said. Meanwhile, Congress has extended support to the statewide bandh on January 25.
KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said: “Congress support is there for January 25 as it concerns the resources of thestate. We are for thestate bandh as the CM himself wanted pro-Kannada activists to reschedule it from January 27 to January 25.”
Chief minister Siddaramaiah said his government is not supporting the statewide bandh.