Kannadigas gather in Belgaum

Global conclave to be inaugurated by NRN will host 50 delegates

Kannadigas gather in Belgaum

Amidst controversies, the second World Kannada Convention (WKC) is set for a grand opening here on Friday with an expected participation of over 50,000 delegates.

This will be the second mega event to be hosted in the city- the previous being the 1924 session of the Indian National Congress which was presided over by Mahatma Gandhi.
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N R Narayana Murthy will inaugurate the three-day event in the presence of Chief Minister  B S Yeddyurappa, Rashtrakavi G S Shivarudrappa and Jnanapith awardee U R Ananthamurthy. Former Chief Justice of India M N Venkatachalaiah and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will also participate.

The inaugural session is scheduled at the district stadium where the stage has been named ‘Kittur Chennamma Vedike.’ The WKC-related programmes will also be held at 15 other venues. They will come alive with various programmes once the inaugural session is over.

WKC begins with a grand procession from the Veer Soudha. It will be led by Balarama, the howdah elephant of Mysore Dasara, and two other jumbos, Krishna and Sudha. Expecting over two lakh visitors, the government has allocated Rs 30 crore for the event. An amount of over Rs three crore has been set aside for the 15 stages.

The Lele Grounds is hosting programmes related to folk arts and legendary singer Kumar Gandharva. The RPD Grounds will host an exhibition, while the Lingaraj College grounds is the venue for the book exhibition. Cultural programmes will be held at the main venue and 15 other venues.

Children's programmes are being held at the Gandhi Bhavan, while Gogte Ranga Mandir will host the theatre fest. Chandrakanth Chavan, a florist said, “I am thrilled about the mega event and the interest it has generated among the people.”

Mohan Hiremath, a resident, is happy that such a mega event is happening here. “It is exciting that literary luminaries are coming to the city in large numbers. We will make this a big success," he said.

Shivanand Chikmath, another resident, said, "This is a festival of our city." Youngsters like Ashok Patil are thrilled that celebrities like Aishwarya Rai and Narayana Murthy are coming to their small town.

Speaking about the security measures, Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil said, three additional superintendents of police, 16 deputy superintendents of police, 70 police inspectors, 207 sub-inspectors, 258 assistant sub-inspectors, 575 head constables, 2,232 police constables, 266 women police personnel, 17 companies of District Armed Reserve Police and 11 companies of Karnataka State Reserve Police had been deployed. Mounted police unit of the Mysore police would be deployed during the procession, he said.

Inauguration and valedictory programmes would be conducted at the district stadium, the main venue, on March 11 and March 13 respectively. At gate-1 of the stadium, entry is only for guests on the stage, while pass holders can enter from gate-2. The general public can enter through gate-3 and gate-4. Entry for artists participating in cultural programmes only, at gate-5, he said.

Local leaders of all parties, including the ruling BJP, have expressed unhappiness at the preparations for the WKC, saying they had been ignored. The BJP leaders expressed unhappiness by remaining away from the meetings.

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