Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj, who became popular due to his unique ways of protests, has declared that Prime Minister Modi will not get even a glass of water to drink, when he visits Bengaluru on February 4 for the conclusion of the Parivarathan Yatra of BJP.
Will this be enough to pressurise Modi to order Goa to divert water from Mahadayi River to provide water for North Karnataka? Let us consider if this is even a farfetched possibility.
Have any changes been made in Goa due to pressure from PM Modi? It looks like CM Parrikar's decision is weighed more in Goa than any leader from the Centre. If this is true, then will pressurising PM Modi on February 4 by depriving him of even a glass of water get Mahadayi water to Karnataka?
Bandh during Cauvery agitation had an effect, and people in Tamil Nadu too started staging protests. But still, Karnataka had to release water to Tamil Nadu. What was effective was the all-party meeting held by Karnataka. This helped the state come to a conclusion to stand united, irrespective of parties and not release water to Tamil Nadu, as there was a genuine shortage of water in the Cauvery basin. As a result, the court too agreed to reduce the quantity of water Karnataka had to release to Tamil Nadu.
But in the case of Mahadayi water, Goa does not have a problem with a shortage of water. But its argument is that diverting water will affect the ecological balance. Now, there is a need for Karnataka to make a study and provide facts, which will prove that diversion of water is safe.
Apart from that argument, no amount of bandhs will help Goa change its stance. The Mahadayi Horata Samiti, which is fighting for Mahadayi water in North Karnataka has been protesting for over 900 days now. But Goa has been stern in its stance and is not even ready for talks.
Recently, Karnataka BJP leaders were seen promising people on getting Mahadayi water into the state. The leaders tried hard to call for PM Modi's intervention, but so far he has neither spoken to the Goa CM nor has his word been taken seriously by Parrikar.
So, all that Bengaluru bandh can do is to affect the conclusion of BJP's Parivarthan Yatra. Of course, whether it gets water to people or not, Congress is up in arms for the bandh, especially on February 4 for obvious reasons of harming BJP's Parivarthan Yatra programme.
Another side effect of this bandh is the loss incurred by the state. In fact, two bandhs have been organised in a span of 11 days. January 25 will be the Karnataka bandh, which is likely to be called off as Vatal Nagaraj allegedly organised it without consulting the Mahadayi agitators, and the other one is on February 4.
The earlier partial bandh conducted for Mahadayi had cost the state a loss of Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 crore per day. Bengaluru itself had incurred a loss of Rs 600cr to Rs 800cr per day. Considering the loss, difference of opinions in conducting bandhs, and political gains, the chance of motive to get water to the needy looks pretty bleak.
Ultimately the question remains, will Modi pressurise Goa CM Parrikar to agree to Karnataka's demands? Will the BJP be ready to face the wrath of people who elected them to power in Goa for the sake of winning over the hearts of people of Karnataka, who had elected Congress?