Bangalore: The Karnataka Congress on Thursday decided to postpone its 10-day Mekedatu padayatra. The ban comes a day after the state government, pulled up by the high court, ordered an immediate ban on the opposition party’s protest march which was taking place despite a massive surge in the state’s daily Covid-19 cases. According to NDTV sources the Congress called off it’s yatra, after Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi took a call. Amid this yatra, five leaders have tested positive for covid.
The decision was taken after party leaders participating in the march, including Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, held a meeting in Ramanagara to discuss the future course of the agitation, said news agency ANI.
FIRs were filed against more than 60 Congress leaders on Day Five of the controversial padayatra that defied Covid rules amid rising cases in the state.
“We have been successful in the last five days. We were supposed to end the padayatra in Bangalore. Because of the third wave we have to postpone it for now,” former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters.
He justified continuing the campaign despite the Omicron-driven Covid surge, saying it had been planned nearly two months ago.
Earlier today, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had written to Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar urging them to call off the march that was organised to push for the Mekedatu dam project on the river Cauvery.
Bommai, in his letter, assured that the project is on track.
Frightening visuals of Congress workers marching in a huge crowd have been emerging from Karnataka, which reported a 44 per cent jump in Covid cases last evening with over 21,000 cases.
The party launched the protest on January 9 in Ramanagara, even as the state witnessed a rise in its fresh Covid-19 infections. Shivakumar himself came under fire from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not wearing mask, as well as for refusing to undergo testing for the virus.
The local police have registered at least three FIRs against the politician and several Congress leaders, as well as others, for allegedly violating coronavirus-related protocols.
Meanwhile, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru’s civic body, cancelled permission for an event which was scheduled to take place in the state capital on January 19 to mark the end of the Mekedatu padayatra, reported ANI.
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