Dec 5 Karnataka bandh plan on, say pro-Kannada groups

December 5 Karnataka bandh against Maratha body on as pro-Kannada groups set deadline

They said they will go ahead with the bandh if the government fails to drop the MDC establishment before November 30

Representative image: iStock Photo

Notwithstanding Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s warning, pro-Kannada groups led by activist Vatal Nagaraj decided on Friday to go ahead with their plan to hold a statewide bandh on December 5 against the establishment of the Maratha Development Corporation (MDC).  

They said they will go ahead with the bandh if the government fails to drop the MDC establishment before November 30. 

"I don't know who advised Chief Minister Yediyurappa on setting up the MDC. We are setting a deadline till November 30. He should withdraw it by then, failing which the bandh will be observed throughout Karnataka on December 5," Nagaraj said. Activists will lay siege to KSRTC bus stands and prevent buses from plying during the bandh, he said. 

Though Nagaraj had announced the December 5 bandh earlier this week, prominent outfits such as the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike had delayed their decision until the meeting held on Friday where they came on board.

Groups representing cab and auto drivers, street vendors and hotels have said they will support the bandh. It is not yet clear if they will stop operations on December 5. 

Pro-Kannada groups have been up in arms ever since the government decided to set up the MDC on November 13. The MDC was widely seen as the BJP’s move to woo the Maratha community that forms a significant voter base in the Basavakalyan assembly constituency, which is due for a bypoll. 

On Wednesday, Yediyurappa had warned pro-Kannada groups against forcing a bandh on the people of the state, arguing that the bandh was unnecessary. He said the government would take strict action. Yediyurappa has defended the MDC saying it had nothing to do with the Marathi language, and that the government’s sole aim was to ensure the development of the community.