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Fight for Mahadayi river crosses 1000 days of protest: 'Water First, Religion Next', say farmers

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    Raita Sena leaders in Nargund- the bastion of movement for Mahadayi river water- are not entertaining politicians in the run-up to assembly elections. The leaders are committed to keeping this issue apolitical till the objective of the movement is achieved. Most importantly, they decided to boycott activists from the forum who want to contest the election.

    Raita Sena leaders in Nargund, Gadag district

    The Raita Sena members took out a rally from the Mahadayi movement stage from the town outskirts to the statue of Naragund king Babasaheb under tight police protection. It was a pitiful sight to see a gathering of 150 people. Under the scorching sun, the fight for Mahadayi river completed 1000 days of protest on April 10th. Veeresh Sobaradmath spearheading the movement bathed in water mixed with cow dung to express displeasure with the Centre and the state governments.

    No to politicians:

    Meanwhile, former CM HD Kumaraswamy was in Naragund and Navalgund to address a political rally on the same day. Raita Sena leaders refused to meet Kumaraswamy in a stern a message to all political leaders who want to pay a courtesy visit to farmers. 

    Fakirappa Jogannavar, Raita Sena Convener, says, "Demand for Kalasa-Banduri project is apolitical movement. We urged our farmers not fall prey to day-dreams shown by political leaders during elections. We are waiting for Mahadayi water tribunals judgement in June-July. We hope our movement will be successful?"

    Not bothered about Lingayat religion issue:

    The farmers are not bothered about separate religion for Lingayats. A furious farmer asked, "What is the need to recommend separate religion for Lingayat when you have an important issue as Mahadayi? What purpose does it serve?"

    "This issue will not have any impact during the elections. We are hardly bothered about the Lingayat religion issue. The tussle between Lingayats and Veerashaiva is an old issue. What's new in this? In fact, the issue of Lingayat religion is untimely and unnecessary."

    On Swamiji's open support a particular party, he said, "Devotees may not heed what Swamiji's says. They have respect for Swamiji's but voters will take their own call."

    The farmers still carry the deep resentment against CM Siddaramaiah government. They opined that CM Siddaramaiah should not have resorted to lathi-charge during their protest in Nargund last year.

    Two resolutions were passed on the 1000th day of the movement. 1. One final appeal to President before the conclusion of Karnataka assembly elections, 2. To sack farmer leaders who want to contest elections.

    Professor Harish Ramaswamy says, "The Congress government is not effective in Mahadayi issue. For instance in Cauvery river dispute matter, despite the fear of contempt of court Siddaramaiah government decided not to release water to Tamil Nadu. He should have come back to people saying if they elect his government this the problem will be resolved. People would believe. Fortunately or unfortunately, even BJP is also not involved."

    Karnataka Assembly Election dates
    Date of notification April 17
    Last date to file nominations April 24
    Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
    Date of polling May 12
    Date of counting May 15

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