Bengaluru: Protests on the issue of sharing of Mahadayi river waters continued in Karnataka today. A bandh was called in north Karnataka - the area that is hoping to receive more river water from the Kalasa Banduri project that is being opposed by neighbouring Goa. There was a shutdown in several districts with buses off the road and bus services between the two states suspended.
The protest has spilt into state capital, Bengaluru.
Farmer groups from the north of the state have also been sitting in protest outside the BJP office in Malleswaram in Bengaluru for the last few days saying state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa had not delivered on his promise to solve the issue by the end of this month. Karnataka's BJP state president, BS Yeddyurappa had been in touch with Goa chief minister, Manohar Parrikar on the issue, which angered the Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Mr Yeddyurappa met the protesters on yesterday, but didn't succeed in calming them down.
And today the BJP decided to take the matter to the ruling Congress by staging a protest near the KPCC office in the city. Former BJP home minister, R Ashok, was part of the protest and went to the hospital saying he had been hit on the head. He said, "They have hit me on the head...This is goondagiri... The Congress is scared and they are arresting us out of fear..."
BJP leader, Shoba Karandlaje, who was also part of the march towards the Congress office told NDTV, "We are protesting against the Congress government. They have to try to release the water in Mahadayi. They have to convince Congress people in Delhi. But instead of that they are doing politics here in front of BJP office....Tell your Congress leaders to release the water and also to give support to Parrikar and Fadnavis."
Congress workers also gathered outside their office as the BJP workers approached. U T Khader, Food and Civil Supplies minister told NDTV, "It is a shameful act of BJP to protest for Mahadayi water in front of Congress office. What is the intention? Should Karnataka government and the police forcefully open the gates of Mahadayi? It is in the hands of the Goa Government and the Prime Minister. If they have to protest either they should go in front of the Prime Minister's office or house or in front of the house of Chief Minister of Goa."
The Kalasa-Banduri project would divert water from the Kalasa and Banduri rivers, tributaries of the Mahadayi river, to the Malaprabha river - for irrigation and drinking water purposes for the north Karnataka districts of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Gadag. But neighbouring Goa is worried that it would affect the water flow of the river into that state as it flows from Karnataka, through Goa and towards the sea.
The entire water sharing issue between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra is before a tribunal. But right now, instead of presenting a united front on this water sharing dispute between states - it is internal politics between Karnataka parties in an election year.