Bangalore: Eighteen years after the installation of the statue of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar here, the BJP government in Karnataka has decided to finally unveil it on August 9 but Kannada outfits, who have been opposing it, have called for a Bangalore bandh on the day.
At an all party meeting here called by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, a majority of participants backed the government`s decision not to link the unveiling of statue, stalled over the years due to protests by Kannada groups, to other vexed disputes with Tamil Nadu like Cauvery river water sharing and Hogennakkal drinking water project.
During the three-hour meeting, writers and leaders of Congress, JDS, JDU and Left Parties pledged their support to the event being held near Halasur lake in which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would participate.
But, members of Kannada outfits staged a dharna and
shouted slogans near Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat,
after coming to know about government`s decision.
Kannada Chaluvali leader Vatal Nagaraj and Karnataka
Rakshana Vedike opposed the unveiling, while R S N Gowda, a
Kannada protagonist, stood by the government.
The statue-diplomacy between the two states comes in
the midst of decades-long row over Cauvery water sharing and
the Hogennakal project aimed at providing drinking water to
Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts in Tamil Nadu using the
Cauvery water to which Karnataka is opposed.
"Thiruvalluvar statue would be unveiled in the city on
August nine and that of the revolutionary Kannada Poet
Sarvajna at Chennai on August 13," Yeddyurappa said, while
promising to protect Karnataka`s interests on land, water
rights and language issues.
"I will meet Karunanidhi, who is in the city and invite
him for the function," the chief minister said, as his
announcement drew flak from Kannada protagonist organisations
which also gave a call for Bangalore Bandh.
ome leaders suggested that both statues be unveiled
on the same day but Yeddyurappa said the dates had already
"For those who wish to attend the Sarvajna idol
unveiling function at Chennai on August 13, the government
will make arrangements by train", Yeddyurappa said.
The decision to unveil both the statues came recently
after a meeting of Yeddyurappa with Karunanidhi at Chennai.
Yeddyurappa told the meeting that he was willing to
lead another delegation of writers and other prominent
personalities to Delhi to mount pressure on the Centre to
grant the relevant benefits following its decision to
grant classical language status to Kannada.
Opposition Congress Leaders in the state assembly
Siddaramaiah, his counterpart in Upper house V S Ugrappa,
CPI-M leader V G K Nair, well-known writers Chandrasekhara
Kambara and others supported the government.
Asked about the security arrangements for the event,
City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari said "wait and see".