Bengaluru, Nov 18 : Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday said that his government will not allow the “bandh” called by a section of pro-Kannada activists on December 5 against the decision to set up the Maratha Development Board.
Speaking to reporters on the sideline of cabinet meeting here, Yediyurappa cautioned pro-Kannada activists not to resort to such bandhs.
“With folded hands I appeal to them not to call for a bandh on December 5. If they go ahead, then I will be forced to act on them,” he said.
He added that this is a welfare board for Maratha communities living in the state.
“Marathas are also Hindu followers. There is a difference between development of Marathi and Maratha. Maratha is a community and they are Hindus,” he said.
He quickly added that he will not tolerate imposition of any language other than Kannada.
“Our government’s actions are very clear, we want to protect these vulnerable communities, therefore, the board was formed,” he argued.
Yediyurappa’s decision to set up the Maratha Development Board comes ahead of the announcement of bypolls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, as well as Basavakalyan and Maski assembly constituencies, which have a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
Karnataka Leader of the opposition, Siddaramaiah too hit out at the schemes implemented by the Yediyurappa government for the benefit of Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka’s border areas.
In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah said, “Yediyurappa, as always, is adopting divide and rule policy by establishing Maratha development authority. With only electoral benefits in mind, Yediyurappa is taking the unscientific route of establishing development bodies based on only castes.”
“Karnataka BJP, which has failed to compete on development agenda during elections, is destabilising social harmony through divisive politics. This is against democracy and social justice,” he further charged.
Meanwhile members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and several pro-Kannada activists held protests in Bengaluru and all over the state over the Yediyurappa government’s decision to form Maratha Development Authority and also Maharashtra Dy. CM Pawar’s remarks.