Mangaluru, March 11, 2018: Environmental activists in Dakshina Kannada, who have been opposing the Yettinahole diversion project, have dropped plans of fielding their own candidates in the Assembly elections.
Instead, they said they would take up a campaign urging voters to opt for none of the above (NOTA) to register their protest.
Dinesh Holla, convener, Sahyadri Sanchaya, a registered body of environmental activists, said they did not find a candidate who would be able to face the elections by spending money on their own. The activists do not have money to sponsor the candidature of any.
He said many who have questioned the activists were of the view that opting for NOTA would not serve any purpose. But this NOTA campaign would be for a particular cause and not just to vent anger against a government project. It is sad that many people still have not understood the gravity of danger to the ecology of Western Ghats because of the ongoing project.
“NOTA is the last democratic tool available now to draw the attention of policy makers on the dangers they are gifting to the coming generation through the project,” he told this correspondent.
“If people did not support the campaign, we think it is the defeat of the people against the government and the particular project,” he said.
Dinesh Holla said the activists would display boards in front of the houses asking representatives of political parties not to visit their houses seeking votes. It is because they have failed to protect the Netravathi. The activists would give free boards to whoever wanted to display it in front of their houses. There would be no compulsion to display the boards.
The campaign would be taken up prominently in the Assembly constituencies of Mangaluru, Mangaluru City South, Mangaluru City North and Bantwal. They would also go on the streets beating drums to draw the attention of voters to opt for NOTA.