View from India: PM Modi visits Bangalore for ‘Parivarthana’ rally

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party has launched a pre-election rally in Karnataka. The campaign titled ‘Parivarthana’ rally translates as transformation or change. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Bangalore on Sunday, February 4, to mark the culmination of the rally.

The Parivarthana rally has taken off amidst tight security. Besides the usual traffic diversions that motorists faced on Sunday, a strong force of 3,000 policemen has been deployed to facilitate the smooth functioning of the rally. Addressing the gathering, Modi struck a chord with the farmers as he assured, “Farmers are my top priority and by ‘TOP’ I mean Tomato, Onion and Potato.”

The PM was supposed to visit Bangalore on January 28, but his visit was rescheduled to the weekend after the Union Budget was announced on February 1.

To put things into perspective, the ‘Parivarthana’ rally began on November 1 2017 and the agenda stretches to covering the 224 Assembly constituencies in the state. Mission accomplished - the PM has visited Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka - to mark the conclusion of the rally. Parivarthana means change and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) flagged the rally to garner votes in Karnataka, which is a Congress state. Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa, the former chief minister of Karnataka, hopes to seek re-election next year. The rally serves as a pre-election campaign for his upcoming political agenda. BJP's rally has been called as a journey to build a new Karnataka across the poll-bound state.

Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa also addressed the gathering. “After the 85-day tour of the State as part of the Parivartana Rally, I have realised there is water shortage everywhere and people are demanding more focus on irrigation. I assure that if we come to power, we will spend a total of Rs 1 lakh crore for improving irrigation facilities during our term. We will complete all pending irrigation projects in the State,” he said.

As of now, Karnataka is a Congress state and the BJP views it as a significant platform for their presence in the southern state. The rally seems a prelude to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Elections which will be held in April-May 2018 to elect members of the 224 constituencies in Karnataka.

Given these developments, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is not one to sit back. The Congress President has scheduled the Congress campaign in the Hospet town of the Bellary district, where he plans to set his footprint in four districts of Karnataka namely Ballary, Koppala, Kalaburgi and Raichuru. The campaign is scheduled to be held on February 10. Incidentally, that’s when the PM will visit Palestine, UAE and Oman, from February 9 to 12 to be specific. Let’s not forget UAE and Oman has a sizeable number of Indians working there. The fact that they send back foreign remittance contributes to the Indian economy.

Meanwhile, a group of Kannada activists protested as they wanted the PM's intervention in the river Mahadayi dispute. Mahadayi may be a small river, but it has sparked off a dispute between the states of Goa and Karnataka.

This rain-fed river which originates in Belagavi in Karnataka meanders its way to Goa. Panaji its capital is on the banks of the river Mahadayi, which takes the name of Mandovi in Goa. Karnataka requires 7.56 thousand million cubic feet from the Mahadayi River to meet its drinking water purpose. A project titled Kalasa-Banduri Nala is underway to meet the requirement and it involves building barrages across the tributaries to fulfill the drinking water needs of the region. Citing ecological reasons, the Goa government has stalled the project and rejected the diversion of water. Seen politically, Goa is a BJP-led government and Karnataka is a Congress state and this thickens the inter-state water dispute.

This water dispute remains to be solved and the PM did not speak about it while addressing the audience.

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