Bandh for North Karnataka statehood fizzles out

Hubballi: The shut-down called by Uttar Karnataka Raitha Sangh across north Karnataka, to protest neglect of the region as well as demand separate statehood, evoked no response on Thursday.  There was no response in all districts of Mumbai-Karnataka region with shops and business establishments functioning through the day and buses and vehicles plying as usual. Government offices and schools too functioned as normal.  Meanwhile, members of several organisations appealed to traders and commuters not to support the bandh by offering them roses to them in Hubballi and Belagavi. A few farmers' leaders have staged protest at Channamma circle here demanding separate statehood for the region. 

The protests fizzled out following assurances by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who held a meeting with them earlier in the week, and assured to fulfill their demands to shift several government offices to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi and other cities in north Karnataka.  Several organisations in Belagavi had decided not to support the bandh following a plea by seers that they should give the state government a month's time to initiate measures and address regional imbalance.  Meanwhile, office bearers of Karnataka Raitha Sangh claimed that the bandh was not successful as some organizations opposed the bandh.

"Our agitation has not evoked good response due to conspiracy of some miscreants against the bandh call. We will all 13 districts to gain the confidence of the people as more than 65 lakh people had already supported our signature campaign for separate statehood demand. We are still confident that people are psychologically and emotionally with us", claimed Mr Basavaraj Karigar, president of the Sangh.

Observing symbolic protests in all districts, Uttar Karnataka Horata Samiti president Somashekar Kotambri said the agitation for overall development of the region would continue in future if the government failed to initiate any measures in next one one month. Several organisations including Kalasa Banduri Horata Samanvaya Samiti, Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Kannada and dalit organisations have not extended their support to the bandh. Though have backed united Karnataka, they have expressed displeasure against step-motherly attitude towards the development of the region.  

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