The opposition Congress and ruling BJP in Karnataka have locked horns over the 10-day ‘padayatra’ organised by the state Congress demanding speedy implementation of the contentious Mekedatu project.
The Congress has charged that on the pretext of rise in Covid cases, the ruling BJP wants to scuttle the Congress’ protest march.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, while hinting at restrictions because of rise in Covid cases in the state, said that the rule is equal for everyone, including Congress leaders. He also claimed that the ‘padayatra’ on Mekedatu by the Congress is politically motivated.
Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar said, “I have collected information from my sources that the BJP is attempting to stall this padayatra citing Covid and the ruling party may forcefully impose lockdown to stop the padayatra.”
He further stated that all Congress leaders are ready to go to jail if the BJP arrests them for flouting disaster management guidelines as the issue aims at protecting the interest of farmers as well as providing drinking water to Bengaluru and other surrounding districts for the next 50 years.
He also alleged that BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, have violated Covid safety norms during election rallies.
“Even if the BJP applies such rules for the Congress, our leaders will continue with the padayatra,” he said.
The proposed padayatra will begin from Mekedatu on Jan 9 and it will be carried out for a period of 10 days. The Congress has grand plans of reaching out to crores of people at all the Assembly constituencies in Bengaluru.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar on Monday jointly asserted that they will not stop the padayatra even if the state government tries to stop them citing increase in Covid cases.
Addressing a joint media conference in Mysuru, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar issued a joint statement, stating that they will begin the 10-day padayatra for the implementation of Mekedatu balancing reservoir project.
They said the party has made all the preparations to conduct the padayatra adhering to all the Covid protocols.