Karnataka bandh called over Cauvery water row by pro-Kannada groups on April 12 has been postponed till May 3, say reports. The shutdown was in a counter to the ongoing stir in neighbouring Tamil Nadu for an early setting up of the Centre to form Cauvery Management Board (CMB). The outfits have urged the Centre to not give into pressure from Tamil Nadu over the formation of Cauvery Management Board as farmer groups across Karnataka are against its formation. The farmers, however, are against the Karnataka bandh and said that they will look for some other form of protest.
Kurubhara Shantakumar, President of the Karnataka Sugarcane Growers Association had earlier told digital newspaper The News Minute that they did not want Cauvery Management Board since the Supreme Court verdict only mentioned a scheme to divide the water. They welcomed the top court's verdict and said, "We don't support the bandh called by pro-Kannada groups on April 12." Karnataka also does not want the board to be set up as the state would have to give up control over its dams.
"The bandh which was planned for April 12 will not be held. The Central government has remained silent on the issue of Cauvery Management Board and it appears that nothing will happen in this regard till May 3. We will not stop the protest. We will continue it but only after May 3," Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
The Centre's delay in setting up the Cauvery Water Management Board upset leaders of Tamil Nadu. Tamil leaders say the Cauvery Water Management Board to be constituted urgently so the recurring negotiations with Karnataka over water sharing is done away with. Karnataka has often cited drought or below-average monsoon to reduce the share of water to its neighbour.
Vatal Nagaraj, who heads the umbrella of Kannada organisations that have called for the shutdown, also came down heavily on actor-politicians Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan for supporting the formation of the Cauvery Board.
"We will not let the movies of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan to be showed in Karnataka. The two film stars should not come to Karnataka under any circumstances," Vatal Nagaraj was earlier quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The distribution of water between the neighbouring southern states has been a contentious issue for decades and has turned into a politically volatile one, as Karnataka votes to pick its next government on May 12. Citing the election, the centre had asked for more time to work out the modalities of water-sharing.