A Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations to protest the creation of a Maratha Development Authority is expected to affect normal life in parts of the state, especially in the capital Bengaluru, on Saturday.
The leader of a collective of pro-Kannada organisations, Vatal Nagaraj, 71, Friday turned down an appeal by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to call off the bandh. “I appeal to everyone including Vatal Nagaraj not to trouble people with the bandh,” the Chief Minister said. Nagaraj said Yediyurappa must withdraw last month’s order for setting up the Authority. “I want to tell Yediyurappa, please withdraw the ‘Authority’ and I will garland you. Don’t threaten us. We will not get scared,” he said.
According to the state government, the Authority, set up with an outlay of Rs 50 crore, will provide scholarships and loans to people from the Maratha community living in Karnataka.
The creation of the Authority is being seen as an effort by the ruling BJP to appease the Marathi population in border regions ahead of bypolls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat and the Basavakalyan Assembly seat.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines