The Karnataka Bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations on Thursday is unlikely to have an impact on normal life in the city.
While members of Karnataka Sanghatanegala Okkuta, the forum which has called for the bandh, claim several cab and auto unions and trade unions are backing them, there seems to be little traction to the bandh call on the ground.
HB Nagesh, Okkuta president, said they are hopeful of a shutdown across the state. “The bandh call is to demand implementation of the Sarojini Mahishi report which recommends preference for Kannadigas in jobs in government and private sectors. We have been protesting over this for a long time and Thursday happens to be the 100th day of our agitation. We will withdraw the bandh call only if government gives it in writing that our demand will be met,” he said.
Nagesh said they will take out a mega rally from Town Hall to Freedom Park, where pontiffs of more than 40 mutts would participate. “We’re being backed by over 700 organisations across the state, including farmer groups, trade unions and pro-Kannada organisations,” he added.
No permission sought: Top cop
However, police commissioner Bhaskar Rao said as of Tuesday evening, no forum had filed any application seeking permission to hold a rally or bandh on Thursday. “Nobody has approached us regarding the Karnataka bandh so far,” he said.
Though forum members claimed that many cab and auto union members will shut operations between 6am and 6pm on Thursday, sources in the transport sector say it’s unlikely. “We cannot afford to stop services for day. Our earnings have reduced considerably and we have commitments like EMIs and other expenses. Only those who are associated with trade unions will not ply and the rest will continue to operate,” said a cab driver who didn’t want to be named.
Commuters’ lifelines – BMTC and Namma Metro – will ply as usual, with the authorities concerned saying that they will take a call depending on the situation on Thursday. HV Ananth Subbarao, general secretary of KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Association, said they have extended moral support but are not participating in the strike.