Bandh over Mahadayi halts Bengaluru, parts of Karnataka

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BJP has termed as "politically motivated" a call for a Karnataka bandh on Thursday and Bengaluru bandh on 4 February by pro-Kannada outfits demanding the prime minister's mediation in the inter-state Mahadayi river water dispute with Goa.

Private schools, some shops and government offices will likely remain shut.

"We have deployed about 15,000 police personnel across the city, especially in vital areas where sensitive installations are present for safety and security of the people", asserted Kumar.

Public transport like buses and autos are also expected to run normally.

A group of protesters tried to disrupt rail services by entering the Bengaluru's Sangolli Rayanna railway station but police stopped and detained them.

The outfits have called for a Karnataka bandh on January 25 when Shah will address a rally in Mysuru and a Bengaluru bandh on February 4, the day Modi arrives in the city.




The pro-Kannada organisations and organisations of farming communities had earlier also called for bandh over the dispute. The Karnataka State Government Employees' Association and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce have extended their support to the bandh.

A holiday has been declared to the schools and colleges on January 25th as precautionary measure.

The 77-km Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district and flows into neighbouring Goa, eventually joining the Arabian Sea. Hoping to end Congress' rule in the state, BJP is banking on Modi and Shah to boost its prospects in the state where the Grand Old Party too is on a strong wicket.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, BJP MP Pratap Simha called it a government sponsored bandh, alleging that the intention was to disrupt Shah's rally.

Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, which are the tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts. Seeking PM's intervention on the ongoing river water dispute, Vatal Nagaraj, who heads "Kannada Okoota", an organistaion of Kannada bodies which led the protest march from town hall to Freedom Park in Bengaluru, was quoted by PTI as saying, "Bandh has got very good response".

The BJP leader pointed out that the ruling Congress party had deliberately instigated the Kannada organisations and farmers to give a call for Bengaluru bandh on February 4 as on that day the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Bengaluru for taking part in valedictory ceremony of BJP's Parivartana Rally.

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