Sunday 23 January 2022
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Karnataka Congress suspends Mekedatu padayatra after order, calls it ‘sacrifice’

The Karnataka government prohibited participation in the Mekedatu padyatra whereas the high court asked why the march had been allowed in the first place

Karnataka Congress today decided to temporarily call off the 100 km padayatra for Mekedatu, terming it a ‘sacrifice’ in the of the state and its people. “Today, we are sacrificing this protest,” DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) said today in Ramanagara, about 50 km from Bengaluru.

Shivakumar said that this was just a temporary break and not a permanent one, emphasising that the protest will resume from the same place. He did not specify when.

The decision comes a day after the Basavaraj Bommai-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government finally decided to prohibit participation in the padayatra against the backdrop of a steep rise in Covid-19 infections across the state. The Karnataka high court had earlier slammed the government for its inaction and the INC for its defiance of restrictions imposed by the state government in view of the pandemic.

Senior Karnataka Congress leaders held a meeting in Ramanagara district today after the government’s late evening order in which several leaders expressed concerns over continuing the march.

Hundreds and thousands of Indian National Congress (INC) workers and others have been taking part in the 10-day padayatra, which started on 9 January, to put pressure on the BJP government to initiate works on the contentious balancing across the Cauvery at Mekedatu in District Ramanagara, about 100 km from Bengaluru.

The Karnataka government also has had to face criticism for its reluctance to act against the yatra for the project, reportedly because it did not want to give the INC a handle, though it hadn’t hesitated to impose severe restrictions on other residents of the state.

By this morning, Karnataka had 93,128 active Covid cases — according to data compiled by the union health ministry.

At least three complaints have been filed against senior Karnataka Congress leaders and others since the march began.

“The Congress is not responsible for the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the third wave. It is the BJP,” Siddaramaiah, the leader of the opposition said today. He said that neither the chief minister nor any of the others in the BJP were concerned about the health of people when they held events or large gatherings.

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