BENGALURU: Anger and helplessness” against the arrest of former minister DK Shivakumar will culminate in a mega protest, senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy said, while announcing the itinerary of his party’s agitation in the city on Wednesday. “The Congress will march from National College Grounds, Basavanagudi, to Freedom Park,” Reddy announced. With many Vokkaliga outfits lending support to the rally and holding parallel agitation programmes, the protests are expected to be a mega affair, the police bandobast indicating no different.
To make the show of strength seem effective, all prominent state Congress leaders are expected to participate in the protest. Observers believe the Vokkaliga pontiff of Adichunchanagiri Mutt, Nirmalananda Swamiji’s visit to DK Shivakumar’s family also helped consolidate the community’s sentiments around the leader. Added to that was HD Kumaraswamy and his wife Anita’s much-publicised consolatory meeting with the former minister’s ailing mother.
The protest, therefore, could be a show of strength by the community, aided by the Congress. The latter has been simultaneously projecting DKS’ arrest by the ED as ‘political vendetta’, and an attack on the Vokkaliga community, by the Lingayat-led dispensation of BS Yediyurappa. Putting BSY and Vokkaliga leaders in the BJP, in a bit of a back foot.
The protests could be massive enough to derail traffic in the CBD, between 11 am and 2.30 pm. The protesters are scheduled to march from National College Grounds to Freedom Park, in what is being projected as a show of solidarity. Ever since DKS’ arrest, the Congress has not stopped repeating that it’s his loyalty to the party, and act of protecting Gujarat MLAs against BJP poaching, that earned him the ire of the ruling dispensation, Amit Shah in particular, who turned on the ‘ED heat’ on DKS.
Ramalinga Reddy, for instance, taking a swipe at the BJP, said, “The state needs relief for those hit by flood and drought, but the government is busy with these arrests to settle scores.”Congress workers from across the state, especially Ballari, Hubballi-Dharwad, Raichur, Yadgir, Ramanagara, Kanakapura, Kunigal, Bidadi and other areas are expected to participate in the protest.