Karnataka: BJP workers misbehave as bandh call on voting day flops

Karnataka bandh called by BJP demanding for farm loan waiver evoked a poor response across the state. Normal life has not been affected; schools and colleges remained open across the state

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

NH Web Desk

The opposition BJP's appeal to farmers and the public to “voluntarily observe a bandh” across Karnataka on Monday to protest the alleged failure of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to keep up his farm loan waiver promise, got off to a dull start. Most of the farmers' and pro-Kannada organisations have not supported BJP’s bandh call, citing politics behind it. Reports from across the state said normal life has not been affected, with schools and colleges and public transport services functioning normally.

Today is also voting day in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly seat in Bengaluru, where voting during the Karnataka assembly elections on May 12 had been countermanded by the Election Commission, after a BJP complaint that over 9,000 voter IDs were found in a flat in the assembly constituency.

The BJP has stated that the bandh would not be observed in Bengaluru, where election is being held for Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency on Monday, May 28. The BJP bandh in any case proved to be a statewide flop and by 3 pm on May 28, RR Nagar had reported a 41% turnout.

BJP activists held demonstrations in different parts of the state; during one such event Mysuru Member of Parliament Pratap Simha along with some party workers were detained by the police. In Dharwad, NEWS9 reported that BJP workers hurled stones at three stationary buses at Court Circle. Yadgir MLA Venkata Reddy Mudnal also allegedly forcefully shut down shops in the area and threatened owners with consequences if they did not shut down their shops.

BJP MP Sanganna Karadi and his son Amaresh allegedly shoved the Deputy SP in Koppal. BJP workers led by MP Sanganna were staging a protest demanding farm loan waiver. Witnesses alleged that the BJP MP’s son abused cops vulgarly when the rickshaw being used for the protest was seized.

In a fierce attack on the coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy, BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa during the trust vote on May 25 had termed it “unholy” and announced a state-wide bandh for Monday, if farm loans worth ₹53,000 crore were not waived immediately as promised.

However, on May 26, Yeddyurappa, who is also the leader of the opposition in the assembly, had said that BJP had not called for a bandh, but was only supporting a call given by farmers.

BJP state General Secretary N Ravi Kumar, in a statement released on Sunday, hit out at the Chief Minister for not keeping up his promise and had called on farmers and the public to observe a bandh “voluntarily” on Monday.

On his part, Kumaraswamy who had promised farm loan waiver immediately after coming to power, has sought time, as he was heading a coalition government with the Congress and would have to consult them before taking any decision. He has said that he would also have to understand the financial condition of the state. The Kumaraswamy government had on May 25 won the vote of confidence in the Legislative Assembly amid a walkout by BJP MLAs.

With PTI inputs

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