Hubballi: The dharna by seers and members of various organisations in front of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi ended in high drama with several activists displaying the North Karnataka flag despite stiff opposition. While the seers said they were not for statehood but wanted development of the region, the activists were all for a North Karnataka state. The police detained several activists and released them later after taking the flag into their possession. BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa also expressed his annoyance over the display of the flag when he visited the venue to persuade the protesters to withdraw their strike.
Fifty seers were unequivocal in their stand that they will not support the demand for North Karnataka state and urged the government to take up up overall development of the region which has been neglected for decades. Expressing support for their protest, Yeddyurappa assured them that the BJP will fight for their cause both in the Legislature session as well as outside. Asserting that his party is against dividing the state, he said he will not support the bandh call given by a few organisations in 13 districts of North Karnataka on August 2. Finally, the seers postponed their dharna by submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner and urging the government to shift offices of various departments to Suvarna Vidhana Soudha with immediate effect.
The protesters said that the special package of Rs 15,000 crore has not been released for five years to the region as recommended by Dr D.M. Nanjundappa Committee. They sought adequate funds for Upper Krishna Project, development of tourist and spiritual destinations, setting up of major industries including those in the IT, BT sector and measures for early settlement of dues of sugarcane growers by factories. They urged the government to turn Suvarna Vidhana Soudha into a power house by shifting secretary level offices to the building.
“People from south Karnataka have not extended their support to the agitations for early implementation of various projects including Kalasa Banduri. All governments are responsible for neglect of the region. Therefore, the government will face consequences if it continues to provide step-motherly treatment”, Chandrashekar Shivacharya Swamiji of Hukkeri Hiremath said. Siddarama Swamiji of Naganur Rudrakshi Matha, Panchalinga Swamiji of Nidasoshi Matha, Gurusiddeshwar Swamiji of Karanjimatha took part in the dharna.
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