Notwithstanding the warning from Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, several pro-Kannada activists and organisations led by Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha supremo Vatal Nagaraj have called for a statewide bandh on December 5, condemning the state government’s decision to form the Maratha Community Development Board.
At least a dozen pro-Kannada activists, including famous film producer and Rajkumar Fans’ Association chief Sa Ra Govindu, met on Friday and passed a unanimous resolution that they will go ahead with the bandh call given by them on December 5.
“We are coming under a single banner – Federation of Kannada Associations – to give a call for a statewide bandh on December 5,” Nagaraj said after the meeting.
The Ola-Uber Drivers and Owners Association too has extended its support to the bandh, reported One India. Bars are also expected to stay shut, reported Republic World.
Speaking to reporters, Nagaraj said that the Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha has already received support of more than 1,000 pro-Kannada organisations across the state.
“We will not be cowed down by the CM’s warning and we will go ahead with our scheduled bandh on December 5,” he said.
Nagaraj added that the state government must roll back its decision of forming this board.
Last week, Yediyurappa took a decision to set up the Maratha Development Board that came ahead of the announcement of the bypolls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, as well as the Basavakalyan and Maski assembly constituencies, which have a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
A row erupted following this, with pro-Kannada activists and Opposition parties condemning the decision, and calling for a statewide bandh on December 5.
Hearing this announcement, Yediyurappa on Wednesday asserted that his government will not allow the bandh.
He further said that if pro-Kannada activists resort to bandh, he will be forced to use the police to stop it.
“With my folded hands I appeal to them not to call for a bandh on December 5. If they go ahead, then I will be forced to act against them,” he said.
“Marathas are also Hindu followers. There is a difference between development of Marathi and Maratha. Maratha is a community and they are Hindus,” he argued.
(With IANS inputs)