Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday urged pro-Kannada groups not to go for a statewide bandh on Saturday against the formation of Maratha Development Authority (MDA).
“I appeal to everyone including Vatal Nagaraj, not to trouble people with Karnataka Bandh. It is not required,” the Chief Minister said, adding that he is making every effort to take all the communities along.
The pro-Kannada organisations said they will not cancel the bandh despite the request from the chief minister. “We will not cancel the bandh tomorrow since the state government is not ready to take back the decision on forming the Maratha development corporation. The State government has gone ahead and notified the Maratha Development Corporation. If the government doesn’t want a bandh, it should scrap the notification,” said Vatal Nagaraj, president, Kannada Okkoota adding that thousands of organisations have supported the bandh call.
Most of the transport unions, including auto rickshaw and taxi unions have decided to support the bandh, while hotel owners’ associations have said they will not be closing their businesses for the day but extend moral support.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Tanveer Pasha, president of Ola, Uber Drivers and Owners Association said that the cabs will be off the road on December 5 in support of the bandh. Manjunath from Adarsha Autorickshaw Union said autorickshaw services will be suspended on bandh day.
Bruhat Bangalore Hotels’ Association said hotels and restaurants are considered essential services and the hospitality sector has already suffered a big blow owing to COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, all hotels and restaurants would remain open in the interests of farmers, owners, workers, and customers, president of Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, PC Rao said.
According to Vattal Nagraj, a massive rally will be taken out from the Town Hall to Freedom Park in Bengaluru city on Saturday.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant has directed all the officials to tighten the security and intensify patrolling across the city on Saturday. According to senior police officials, as many as 15,000 policemen, along with 30 KSRP and 20 CAR platoons, have been deployed in the city.
Meanwhile, metro and KSRTC, BMTC bus services will be available on Saturday, officials confirmed.
The Karnataka government recently announced setting up a Maratha development board, with a fund of Rs 50 crore. The move to constitute a separate board for Marathi-speaking people has sparked protests among pro-Kannada groups, who have given a call for a Karnataka bandh on December 5, on account of opposition to neighbouring Maharashtra’s claims on border regions of Karnataka, which have large Marathi-speaking populations.
After a Cabinet meeting on November 18, state Law Minister J C Madhuswamy said, “The Cabinet has approved the creation of the Maratha Development Board and it has been decided in principle to create a Lingayat Veerashaiva Development Board.”