Minutes after his speech, farmers from Mahadayi basin area perform a mock funeral of PM
For farmers fighting for the State’s share in the Mahadayi river waters, it was yet another day of disappointment as the keenly awaited speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday steered clear of the issue. This prompted the Opposition parties and farmers to take a dig at the BJP.
The pitch on the Mahadayi issue was raised earlier in the day, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy tweeting, demanding Mr. Modi’s intervention to resolve the dispute.
“On behalf of my people, I urge you to find the time for Karnataka’s drinking water needs & help us resolve the #Mahadayi dispute. #NammaKarnatakaFirst,” Mr. Siddaramaiah tweeted.
The issue had led to a slugfest between the BJP and the Congress as Kannada activists had called for a bandh on Sunday, demanding Mr. Modi’s intervention. The BJP had accused the Congress of orchestrating the bandh call. However, as the High Court termed the bandh call unconstitutional, activists staged protests through out the day at Freedom Park.
Minutes after the Prime Minister’s speech, the anger of farmers from the Mahadayi basin area found expression in the form of a mock funeral of Mr. Modi at Freedom Park. Farmers’ protests on Sunday saw anti-BJP and anti-Modi slogans and a call for the people to defeat them as well.
Veeresh Sobaradamath, president of the Raita Sene, Karnataka, which is leading the Mahadayi protests for over three years, said, “The last hope of resolution outside the tribunal has been dashed. We will consider filing a PIL petition in the Supreme Court for our share of drinking water.”
Janasamanyara Paksha, formed for the cause of resolving the Mahadayi issue, announced that it will field farmers as candidates as a last resort. Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj said Kannadigas must respond to Mr. Modi and the BJP during the upcoming elections.
“We are thinking of fielding farmers and Kannada activists for the elections,” he said.
After Mr. Modi’s speech, KPCC president G. Parameshwara came down heavily on him for remaining silent on the Mahadayi issue. “Article 262 of the Constitution states that the Prime Minister can intervene. People of Hubballi–Dharwad are suffering from shortage of drinking water. Despite demand from the people, he remained silent and accused us of being anti-farmer,” he said.