Karnataka bandhs put BJP in uncomfortable position as Congress leverages Mahadayi issue

Mahadayi water verdict protest

Mahadayi water verdict protest

However, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have chose to operate buses as usual. Cab and autorickshaw drivers said customers were few as most offices declared a holiday.

A group of protesters tried to disrupt rail services by entering the Bengaluru's Sangolli Rayanna railway station but police stopped and detained them. It has alleged that the Government has instigated the Kannada activists to pick Jan.25 and Feb.4 as the dates for the bandh when BJP President Shah and PM Modi are expected to visit the poll-bound State to take part in 'Nava Karnataka Parivartana Yatra, ' organised by the State unit.

Though hotels, restaurants and eateries were opened in some areas, owners said they may have to stop their services depending on the situation.

They demand the PM's intervention in the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project by bringing a compromise between Goa and Maharashtra, so that the state of Karnataka can get its share of the waters. With no resolution of the crisis in sight, the farmers from Karnataka's drought prone districts, particularly Gadag, Dharwad, Belagavi, Haveri, and Bagalkot have raised the banner of revolt against the central government to end the crisis.

Repeated efforts by the state seeking the prime minister's intervention to solve the issue has also not been successful.

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Pro-Kannad organisations have called for a state-wide bandh in Karanataka on January 25. Police had made elaborate security arrangements across the state to ensure that no untoward incident occurs.

While the trigger for the bandh seems to be the deadlock over the Mahadayi issue, the timing of the bandh-coinciding with the last day of BJP's 75-day Parivarthana Rally-smacks of politics. What makes Modi's visit crucial is that, with this rally, he will kick start the party's election campaign in the state.

Protests across the state and Bengaluru were more or less peaceful until 10 this morning, when various pro-Kannada organisations came out in support of the 12-hour bandh.

While BS Yeddyurappa has been blaming Siddaramaiah for instigating the bandh, the Karnataka chief minister has called dismissed the charge as "baseless".

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