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Cong launches Mekedatu Padayatra defying Covid-19 guidelines

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Ramnagar: The Congress in State has launched a massive padayatra in Sangama, Ramanagara District, defying the Covid guidelines, on Sunday January 9 to demand the implementation of the Mekedatu Project.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D. K. Shivakumar offered prayers to the river and led the rally seeking the drinking water project’s implementation ahead of the padayatra. From January 9 to January 19, the padayatra with the slogan ‘Namma Neeru, Namma Hakku’ (our water, our right) would traverse a total distance of 154.5 kilometres, ending at National College Ground in Basavanagudi. Congress has planned to conduct protest rallies in all the Assembly segments of the capital city Bengaluru for another five days before congregating at Basavanagudi National College Grounds.

The padayatra was inaugurated by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who was joined by Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, religious leaders, and officials from organisations such as the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking at the event, Shivakumar accused the State Government of imposing prohibitory orders at the venue in order to prevent the padayatra. “In the State, there are 26 dams. One was built by the Maharaja of Mysuru, five by the British, and twenty by the Congress,” he said.

According to him, the Congress was battling the BJP and the JD (S) for the project’s implementation. “Prohibitory orders (for the campaign) was against the law itself,” he said, adding that Congress was not worried about the criticism,” he added.

The Congress is claiming that the implementation of the project would help to solve the drinking water woes of Bengaluru city and surrounding areas. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu is opposing the project. Ruling BJP is maintaining that the matter is before the Supreme Court and they are committed to implement the project.

Thousands of Congress workers gathered at the spot to participate in the padayatra inauguration ceremony. The villages en route were decorated and local Congress leaders extended warm welcome to their leaders, when the rally passed through.

Despite Covid – 19 restrictions in the State, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra criticised Congress for holding the event. Jnanendra has informed that the Ramanagara District Government will take action against Congress representatives who would organise the event in violation of Covid guidelines.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is holding a meeting with cabinet colleagues on handling the situation as Congress has challenged the ruling BJP government and commenced the padayatra despite curfew orders. CM Bommai is discussing initiating action against the Congress leaders and its implications and management of the situation in view of surge in Covid cases in the state, especially in Bengaluru.

 

Inputs from IANS

Photo Source: G. Mohan

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