Bengaluru, Nov 21 (SocialNews.XYZ) Karnataka Chief Minister, B. S. Yediyurappa on Saturday softened his stand on the December 5 bandh call given by pro-Kannada activists.
He clarified that the state government would "act tough" only in the event of the bandh being imposed "forcefully" anywhere in the state.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of - Matsya Sampada (marine wealth) - a programme that was organised by the Karnataka fisheries department here, Yediyurappa said that the state government will act tough if the protesters try to disrupt any activity forcefully.
"The government has never opposed organising of protests in peaceful and democratic manner. What I have been saying is that if any protest would turn violent, the state government bound act harshly on such protests" he said in response to a question.
Just two days ago, Yediyurappa had cautioned pro-Kannada activists that the government is bound to act on state-wide bandh as it was "illegal" to call for a bandh.
"Maratha are also Hindu followers. There is a difference between development of Marathi and Maratha. Maratha is a community and they are Hindus. There is nothing wrong in forming this body," he had argued.
Notwithstanding Yediyurappa's warning, nearly 1000 pro-Kannada organisations across Karnataka came onboard a single platform - Federation of Kannada Associations - led by Kannada Chaluvali Paksha, supremo, Vatal Nagaraj and called for a state wide bandh.
Even associations like Bengaluru Hoteliers Association extended their moral support to the bandh call given by this Federation.
Ever since Yediyurappa announced the decision to form Maratha Development Authority last week, several pro-Kannada activists have vehemently opposed it.
Yediyurappa's decision comes ahead of the announcement of bypolls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, as well as Basavakalyan and Maski assembly constituencies, which have a sizeable Marathi-speaking population. Though initially it was vehemently opposed by political parties, but soon Pro-Kannada associations lapped it up as their own fight.
In Karnataka border dispute with Maharashtra always evokes sharp reactions as it is very emotional issue and pro-Kannada associations do not let go any opportunity, whenever Karnataka or Maharashtra make any statements.
Though the ruling BJP had been trying its best to douse the fire by changing the name of Maratha Development Authority to Maratha Community Development Board, this decision seems to have failed to cut any ice with activists so far.