Many farmers’ and students’ organisations have called for a shutdown on August 2 across all 13 districts of northern Karnataka to demand separate statehood for the region. The groups expressed dissatisfaction with the “negligible funds” allocated to northern Karnataka in the current budget and complained of “step-motherly treatment”.

Somashekar Kotambari, president of the umbrella outfit Uttara Horata Samiti, on Wednesday called for a shutdown as a show of strength against the government, reported The News Minute.

“The northern districts of Karnataka have been perpetually neglected and our farmers are facing many problems,” he said. “None in the government in the past have helped north Karnataka and it looks like the same attitude will continue.” He claimed that various organisations had promised to support their call for a bandh.

Kotambari said Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s recent remarks on the demand of farm loan waivers were disappointing. On Monday, Kumaraswamy had remarked that although Koppala district did not vote for him, he would help farmers in the region with loan waivers. Kotambari said that an elected representative must act in people’s interest and not hold grudges. “How can we be certain of any development if this is the case?” he asked.

Reacting to the bandh call, Kumaraswamy said that such demands have started only recently after the Congress-JD(S) alliance came to power in the state, reported News9.

The Samiti has planned a rally at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, reported The Times of India. The Vidhana Soudha, inaugurated in 2012, is the new state legislature building in Belgaum district in the northern part of the state. Kotambari said the primary objective of the legislature coming up in Belagavu was to push the region’s overall development. “But it is a white elephant with no government office located here,” he said.

The Samiti’s demands include the formation of an expert committee to study the demand for separate statehood and to submit the report to the Centre for approval, said The News Minute.

Basavaraj Karigar, president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a farmer’s movement, said northern Karnataka was struggling with the Mahadayi river project while irrigation projects were coming up in the south. “Benefits of the Krishna river are yet available for farmers,” he told The Times of India. “All development work is concentrated in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Ramanagara, Hassan, Mandya, and other districts.