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Uncertainty looms over protest

Chikkaballapur, Nov 19, 2012, DHNS: 0:27 IST

Participants draw a blank on future course of action even after 50 days

The protest being staged demanding implementation of the permanent irrigation project, entered 50th day on Monday in the district.

However, some members of the various organisations participating in the protest for indefinite period, have expressed their unhappiness over lack of clarity and planning in continuing the protest.

The leaders seem to lack consensus over strategies for intensifying the protest. Though MPs, legislators and leaders from Chikkaballapur, Kolar and Bangalore Rural districts were supposed to take part in the special meeting held on the 40th day of the protest, only two legislators turned up for the meeting.

Besides, ninety per cent of the participants had expressed their willingness to intensify the agitation.

However, Nirmalanandanath Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Mutt directed the protesters to continue the protest in a peaceful manner.

The protesters were expecting their leaders to take a final decision on future course of action on the 50th day. But they were disappointed.

The special meeting scheduled for November 20 under the chairmanship of the seer, has been postponed to November 24 or 25. A committee comprising leaders from all the three districts is likely to be set up during the meeting.

“When the protest began on October 2, we didn’t think that it would continue this long. On the first day of the protest, desilting of tanks and recharging groundwater table were on top of the agenda while the Paramashivaiah report was placed at 10 in the list. When a few members raised objection, demand for implementing the recommendations was moved to the top place. We thought the protest would have some impact. But even on the 50th day, it has not moved out of its venue, the office of the assistant commissioner,” said Manjunath, a trader who took part in the protest.

The protesters assemble by 10 am and listen to bhajans and harikatha till returning their houses in the evening, he added.

Political mileage

Some of the leaders are trying to manipulate the protest to further their political interests as the next Assembly elections are nearing.

Bagepalli legislator N Sampangi said that Union Minister M Veerappa Moily promised to take up the permanent irrigation project after implementing the Yettinahole irrigation project.

“The protests are unnecessary and are being staged to gain political mileage,” he said.
Former chief ministers B S Yeddyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy are likely to participate in the protest, he added.

Padayatra

The protesters from Srinivaspur took out a padayatra to Chikkaballapur, 72 km from the taluk.

Former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, addressing the protesters, said that the protest should take the form of a movement on a massive scale in order to draw the attention of the government.

The padayatra, that began on November 17, garnered support from people at Chintamani, Shidlaghatta and Hosahudya before reaching the protest venue on Monday.
Congress district unit president Anil Kumar led the protesters.

CPM support

Members of the Community Party of India (Marxist) have decided to join the protest on Monday, demanding permanent irrigation facility as well as food security.
CPM district unit secretary M P Munivenkatappa said the protest rally will be held in eight places – four in Bagepalli and each in Chikkaballapur, Chintamani, Gauribidanur and Shidlaghatta taluks. Besides, public meeting will be held at taluk, hobli and village levels.
The protesters will lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha in January if the demands are not fulfilled, he added.

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