Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Friday told the centre in a letter that he was redesigning the nameboards at Bengaluru Metro stations after protests against the use of Hindi in them.
Pro-Kannada organizations, writers and citizens of Bengaluru have taken part in the protests against the use of Hindi on Bengaluru Metro signboards.
“Although the state government has strictly dealt with those who defaced the signages and maintained law and order in and around metro stations, you would agree that in the face of continued agitation and demands from litterateurs and intellectuals of the city for giving primacy to the language of the state and the languages with which people of the city and the commuters are familiar, it is counterproductive to continue to insist on use of three languages including Hindi," Siddaramaiah said in his open letter to the National Democratic Alliance-led central government.
Siddaramaiah said that though the centre had contributed to the project, the state’s share was much bigger as it is in charge of operations, security and even repaying debts of Phase I of the project that cost around Rs40,000 crore.
Siddaramaiah’s Congress party government is using resentment against the perceived imposition of Hindi on the state as an issue of Kannada pride and identity to gain political mileage ahead of next year’s assembly elections.
Siddaramaiah has also set up a committee to look at the legalities of having a state flag, much to the delight of pro-Kannada groups.
“I would like to submit here that the stand of the government of India of using the three language formula is not reasonable," Siddaramaiah wrote in his letter to Narendra Singh Tomar, union minister for urban development, on Friday.
He said Bengaluru Metro commuters are comfortable with reading English and Kannada signboards and it was not essential to use Hindi.
“I would like to impress upon you that it will be better to follow a persuasive approach rather than a mandatory approach in the matter of use of Hindi."