Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kannada thrust into civic agenda

Kannada thrust into civic agenda

Mukhyamantri Chandru asks political parties to field Kannadigas only in BBMP elections

Srikanth Hunasavadi and Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore



The forthcoming elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have gained a controversial flavour, even before any political party has sounded the battle bugle.
A call from the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) to all parties to give tickets only to Kannadigas in the BBMP elections to ensure that the civic body remains a Kannadiga entity, has angered civic activists.
In a letter to all political parties, KDA chairman Mukhyamantri Chandru has said that the language of the land was vanishing in the cities. "In Bangalore, over 72% of the populace comprises non-Kannadigas. We have to take this issue seriously and act to arrest the trend. Otherwise, Kannadigas will have to live like minorities in the Garden City," he added.
Reacting to the KDA call, N Mukund, managing committee member of the Citizens Action Forum (CAF), told DNA, "The Constitution of India permits every eligible citizen to contest the elections. It only says that the contestant must be a citizen of India and does not put any language barrier."
Chandru has asked all the political parties to check the antecedents of their nominees and ensure that they are Kannadigas before finalising their candidature for the civic polls. If our political representatives are Kannadigas, they will definitely protect our language. Else, Kannadigas might have to face a lot of problems in the future, he said.
The KDA chief also explained why he was demanding what he was. "We are coming up with such a request prior to the elections because once polls are held and non-Kannadigas get elected, we can't do anything. If we try to check the entry of non-Kannadigas in the nomination stage itself, things will fall in place. All the political parties must confirm that the candidates they are fielding are Kannadigas and are committed to the cause of Kannada. We have to create awareness about Kannada," he explained.
"Yes, we are living in a democratic set-up and we can't be against other languages. At the same time, those who come to the city for their livelihood must learn Kannada. They should not end up lording it over Kannadigas. They should respect Kannada language and it's culture," Chandru wrote.
The KDA chairman has addressed his letter to all the ministers in BJP government including chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, the state chiefs of the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), MLAs and MPs from the city constituencies, all academy heads, chairman of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat and other Kannada organisations.
Chandru's missive has stopped short of defining who actually would make for a Kannadiga. But civic activists have said that there is a need to define Kannadiga. "Who is a Kannadiga according to the KDA? Those who are born and brought up here? Or those who are able to speak and write in Kannada? Or those with concern for Kannada?" asked CAF's N Mukund.
The CAF has decided to field four members in the BBMP elections. The nominees would take the plunge as independent candidates and not as representatives of any political party.

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