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BJP demands apology from Sonia

Special Correspondent

Party wants her to withdraw statement on Mahadayi diversion scheme



DHARNA: Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its Kisan Morcha staging a protest demonstration near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Bangalore on Monday against what they described as the Centre's anti-farmer policies. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday demanded a public apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her statement that there was no need for the inter-State Mahadayi diversion scheme, which aims to provide drinking water to Hubli and Dharwad and a large number of villages through the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.

The BJP leaders and activists of its Kisan Morcha, who staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue here against what they termed the anti-farmer policies of the United Progressive Alliance government, demanded that Ms. Gandhi should withdraw her statement.

The protesters, including BJP State president D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Kisan Morcha president Eshwarachandra Hosamani, said that Ms. Gandhi's statement showed that she had taken an anti-Karnataka stand.

On Sunday, H.D. Deve Gowda, national president of the BJP's coalition partner, the Janata Dal (S), said there was no need to rake up a controversy over Ms. Gandhi's remarks.

The protesters took out a procession to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban district and handed over a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister containing their demands.

The BJP leaders also urged the Centre to emulate the State's example of providing farm loans at an interest rate of 4 per cent through cooperative societies and banks and waiving farm loans up to a maximum of Rs. 25,000.

They sought the intervention of the Centre in resolving the Cauvery dispute. Other demands included providing cold storage railway wagons to transport horticultural produce and flowers and a policy decision not to acquire fertile agricultural land for Special Economic Zones.

Traffic was affected for some time by the procession.

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