Deve Gowda to lead stir against NICE

"From today, I myself will sit in dharna along with farmers. I will continue the agitation. Let the government arrest me also as it did with the farmers," Gowda told reporters.

The former prime minister sat in the dharna at Hemmigepura village on the NICE-built road in the city outskirts, joining in a spate of protests by farmers on the issue.

Gowda said he would take a day's break tomorrow to visit Kolkata to call on veteran CPI-M leader Jyoti Basu, whose health condition has turned critical. "This is the most uncivilised government the state ever had. We can no more tolerate it. Farmers have been handcuffed by this government," he said, criticising the BJP government.

He also alleged that there were attacks on farmers by those hired by NICE and police have refused to register cases against the culprits. "I will agitate against this government throughout the state," he said.

Gowda called on Governor H R Bhardwaj and apprised him of the alleged atrocities on farmers and sought his intervention in this regard. He said the Governor promised to act within the framework of law.

People of Hemmigepura have been agitating NICE asking it to build a bridge across the road in the wake of a recent accident involving a school bus. Gowda, during whose regime as Chief minister the MOU for the Bangalore-Mysore Express Highway and townships was signed, is now opposing the project, alleging that excess land had been given to NICE.

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