Bengaluru: Pro-Kannada organisations Saturday asked Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to roll back his decision to set up the Maratha Development Authority (MDA).
But the Chief Minister rejected the request and warned the organisations that the proposed bandh on Dec 5 against the MDA decision would not be allowed.
Yediyurappa clarified that he was only setting up the Maratha Development Authority and not Marathi Development Authority. The Maratha community members are "staunch Hindutvavadis", many of whom need to be elevated socially and economically, he added.
But pro-Kannada organisations are not impressed. Speaking to reporters, pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj said that if the newly formed MDA is not rolled back, pro-Kannada groups will go ahead with a bandh in two weeks' time. "If the decision is not reversed, we will observe a Karnataka bandh on December 5. Chief Minister Yediyurappa should resign," Nagaraj said.
On November 13, Yediyurappa had announced the setting up of the MDA, earmarking Rs 50 crore for the overall development of the Maratha population in the state. The Opposition was quick to dub the move as appeasement politics and an attempt to woo the sizeable community members in Basavakalyan Assembly segment in Bidar district in north Karnataka and Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency bordering Maharashtra where bye-elections are due.
However, a consortium of pro-Kannada organisations such as Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha (KCVP), which Vatal heads, and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Shivarame Gowda faction) passed a resolution opposing the government move and announced a bandh on Dec 5. The Ola-Uber Drivers and Owners Association and autorickshaw drivers have extended their support to the bandh.