Representatives of various political parties opposed the merger of Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank at a programme organised by the Vijaya Bank Ulisi Horata Samithi at Town Hall on Saturday.
MLC Ivan D’Souza, addressing the gathering said, “The decision to merge a profit-making bank with a bank that has the highest non-performing assets is highly condemnable.”
Suspecting a lobby behind such a decision, D’Souza said that there is a need to raise a voice as Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel has failed to do so in the Parliament. “If all the 28 MPs of Karnataka had protested by trooping to the well of the House of Parliament, there would have been a discussion in the country against the merger of banks,” he pointed out.
Samithi president Dinesh Hegde Ulepady said that, already, a writ has been filed in the Delhi High Court against the process initiated by the Central government for the merger of the Bank.
“When the writ was pending in court, the Cabinet went ahead with its decision on the merger, issued notification on the same day. As per the Banking Companies (Acquisition of Transfer of Undertakings) Act Section 9 (6), the decision on the amalgamation of banks should be placed before the Parliament. Unfortunately, the issue of the merger of Vijaya Bank has not been placed before the Parliament,” he said with disappointment.
Former minister Ramanath Rai said that the day Mulki Sundarram Shetty’s portrait is removed from the walls of Vijaya Bank will be a dark day for the coastal district. “I will go to Delhi and try to impress upon the concerned through the Congress leaders to drop the merger,” he promised.
Mangaluru South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath urged the Samithi to fix a date and take an all-party delegation to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to convey their stand on the merger and demand its withdrawal. “I will take up the responsibility to bring all seven MLAs of Dakshina Kannada, five MLAs of Udupi and two MPs of the two districts as a part of the delegation. The district in-charge minister should also be a part of the delegation,” he suggested.
‘State govt silent’
The MLA, however, added that it is not necessary to blame the Central government for politicising the issue. He alleged that the state government had not made any effort to urge the Centre to stop the bank merger.
Coming down heavily on Kamath’s suggestion to take a delegation, Ramanath Rai said, “It is the responsibility of the local MLAs and MPs to take us in a delegation to New Delhi to save Vijaya Bank. Kamath questioned why the bank employees did not raise voice against the merger. But, the bank employees questioned the presence of MPs during the bank merger.”
This led to an exchange of words between Kamath and Rai for some time.
Balakrishna of CPI (M) Udupi unit said, “Even after the merger of the SBI with its associate banks, the bank continues to incur loss. The CPM will organise a protest in front of all Vijaya Bank branches in Udupi against the merger.”
Mayor Bhaskar K, Chief Whip of MCC Council Shashidhar Hegde, JD(S) leader Ram Ganesh, CPM leader Yadav Shetty and International Bunt Welfare Trust chairman A Sadananda Shetty made their stand clear by opposing the merger.
The Samithi also submitted an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley through the deputy commissioner to withdraw the decision on the merger of Vijaya Bank on the occasion.