Friday’s day-long Karnataka bandh call was withdrawn after pro-Kannada leaders Vatal Nagaraj, Praveen Shetty and others met Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Thursday following his requests to call off the bandh.
Wednesday, appealing to the outfits to withdraw their bandh call, Bommai had said, “Strong action has been taken against MES (Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi) activists who indulged in vandalism in Belagavi. Legal provisions will be examined to ban MES. Karnataka bandh is not appropriate. Bandh is not a solution for the problems.”
Last week, Nagaraj had called for a state-wide bandh on Friday demanding a complete ban on the activities of MES in the state over its alleged “repeated involvement in anti-Karnataka activities” in Belagavi region of north Karnataka.
MES activists had allegedly burnt a Kannada flag in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur and defaced the statue of Karnataka’s historical icon Sangolli Rayanna in Belagavi.
After the meeting Thursday, which was also attended by Sa Ra Govindu, K R Kumar, Shivarame Gowdru, Bommai said, “As Kannadigas, you and I are united in the fight to protect Kannada and the borders of Karnataka.”
He added, “I congratulate them for that (calling off the bandh). There will be no Karnataka Bandh tomorrow (Friday). They have assured us that there will be no problem for normal life and businesses.”
Replying to a question about banning MES, the Chief Minister said, “It is being examined under the legal provisions and the same has been conveyed to the delegation.”
Meanwhile, hours before the bandh, several organisations said they will just extend moral support and not participate. Those against the bandh included the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, auto, schools and college and shopping malls associations and several other commercial establishments and transport organisations.