K’taka Cong dares ruling BJP to stop Mekedatu padayatra

Bengaluru, Jan 6 (IANS) Amid Covid-19 crisis, the Opposition Congress in Karnataka on Thursday dared the ruling BJP to stop the January 9 padayatra demanding speeding up of implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river.

The Congress has announced that the ten-day padayatra would begin on January 9 from Mekedatu. The project which aims at providing drinking water facility to Bengaluru, known as Silicon valley of India, has been objected to by the neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

State Congress President D.K. Shivakumar on Thursday has challenged the ruling BJP government to try and stop the padayatra on the Mekedatu project. “Home Minister Araga Jnanendra will have to take another birth to stop this padayatra,” he said.

Reacting to the statement of Home Minister Araga Jnanendra’s warning that no permission is given to Mekedatu padayatra and legal action will be initiated, Shivakumar stated: “Let them arrest anyone. Let them even arrest me or Siddaramaiah. We respect Covid rules. The government which is denying permission for the yatra citing Covid, has allowed an oath taking ceremony in Vidhana Soudha with the crowds flouting all Covid norms, he said.

“Why has the Home Minister not booked cases against all these persons in Vidhana Soudha? Is this not a meeting? The oath taking ceremony of MLCs today should have taken place inside the Assembly with only the MLAs being invited. Is Covid not spreading here, what are the Home Minister, Health Minister and Chief Ministers are doing about this? Shivakumar questioned.

The Congress party is trying to struggle for the people of the state. “Padayatra is going to happen. Party workers are going to come. People cutting across the lines are going to participate. Let him (home minister) issue these threats at his place and let him not try it in the capital,” Shivakumar stated.

“We have also been in politics for 40 years. We are protesting for water. It is for the people of the state. On January 9, the inauguration day of Mekedatu padayatra, let them (the government) stop them and arrest us. We will show what we can do later,” he challenged.

Siddaramaiah, the Opposition leader stated that they won’t take consent to carry out padayatra. “We are not violating any law. Let them take action,” he added.

Earlier, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra speaking to reporters had said that Covid guidelines and rules apply to all. The measures are initiated to protect the health of people. The Congress leaders must rethink about the Mekedatu padayatra and take a decision to postpone it, he added.

The cases are increasing in the state especially in Bengaluru precariously and it has to be checked. “Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah are senior persons and understand the concern of the government,” he appealed.