Close on the heels of several organisations in North Karnataka opposing the bandh call demanding separate statehood, the BJP, whose leaders earlier offered support to the movement, did a U-turn and said it will strive to convince the protesters to drop the stir.

BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa, in a release, said his party would never allow the State to be divided. He said he will visit Belagavi on Tuesday to personally request various religious leaders and representatives of organisations to remain committed to the idea of a unified State. Mr. Yeddyurappa accused JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda of conspiring to divide the State in a bid to strengthen his party. He alleged that Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was biased against North Karnataka and accused him of disrespecting the Constitution by making “arrogant remarks” on the region.

Seers’ protest

Belagavi Special Correspondent reports:

The protest by some Lingayat seers seeking effective decentralisation has gained importance with Mr. Yeddyurappa announcing that he will join them in Belagavi on Tuesday. The protest is scheduled before the Suvarna Soudha near Belagavi. The seers have said that they are upset with the continued neglect of North Karnataka by successive governments, and have set a deadline to the State government to correct itself.

“I do not demand a separate State nor will I support such a demand. I want North Karnataka to be developed on a par with South Karnataka,” Sri Siddharama Swami of Nagnur Rudrakshi Mutt told
The Hindu
. “No leader should seek a separate State because he wants to be the Chief Minister of the new State,” he said. He clarified he would not allow anyone to hoist any purported flag of North Karnataka at the protest venue.

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