Shettar, Joshi attack Feb 4 Bengalaru bandh as 'Congress-sponsored'

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"We are forced to shut down across the state from 6:00 a.m.to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday for the Prime Minister's intervention in getting the Mahadayi water to meet the drinking needs of the people in the state's four northern districts", Kannada Rakshana Vedike (Protection Forum) Narayana Gowda told reporters here on Wednesday.

While the film industry and multiplexes made a decision to remain shut, hospitals and clinics are expected to function as usual, with the Indian Medical Association office bearers stating that they will be extending moral support by wearing a black band.

State transport buses are expected to run as usual, but private vehicles may stay off the road. Activists jumped on to city railway station tracks, but police removed them before they disrupted train service.

The districts are Belagavi, Bhagalkote, Dharwad and Gadag in the northwest.

While the trigger for the bandh seems to be the deadlock over the Mahadayi issue, the timing of the bandh-coinciding with the last day of BJP's 75-day Parivarthana Rally-smacks of politics.

Similarly, a Bengaluru bandh has been called on February 4 also, when the Prime Minister is visiting the poll-bound state to take part in "Nav Karnataka Parivartan Yatra" of the state unit in the city.

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"Kannada organisations backing out from the bandh on January 25 is absolutely false", he said. The Bruhat Bengaluru Chemists and Druggists' Association said that while it supports the bandh, medical shops will be open. However, the move was opposed by then Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who claimed that the proposal could be ecologically disastrous for the Western Ghats of the coastal state.

Schools and colleges had declared a holiday.

Karnataka's Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had on Wednesday urged pro-Kannada organisations and the other protesters to observe a peaceful Bandh on January 25.

"This is one hundred percent a political vendetta", says Jagadish Shettar, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and added this is a "completely government sponsored bandh".

With the Mahadayi issue going out of control, the BJP asked Rahul Gandhi to direct the Congress in Goa to agree to sharing water with Karnataka.

The call for a bandh on two days is to protest against the Goa government's stand on the Mahadayi water sharing issue. Shah is scheduled to address a party rally on Thursday.

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