Social distancing goes for a toss as Congress protests fuel price hike with cycle rally in Bengaluru
The Congress ended up violating all social distancing norms as hundreds of party workers cycled together and crowded outside the party office before moving towards the income tax office without masks
BENGALURU: As part of its national protest against the fuel price hike, the Karnataka unit of the Congress took out a bicycle rally on Monday. Senior leaders of the party hopped on to bicycles and led hundreds of party workers in Bengaluru as they pedalled towards the party headquarters.
In the process, the Congress ended up violating all social distancing norms as hundreds of party workers cycled together and crowded outside the party office before moving towards the income tax office without masks, shouting slogans and waving flags. The gathering was also a violation of the Union Home Ministry's guidelines prohibiting any social, religious or political gatherings.
The Congress' mass gathering drew severe flak from netizens for throwing social distancing to the wind barely a day after Karnataka reported more than 1000 cases in a single day with Bengaluru alone reporting more than 700 cases on Sunday.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress committee president D K Shivakumar led the cycle rally till the party office as hundreds of workers followed closely. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too cycled from his residence toward the party office with dozens of his supporters. Former Home Minister KJ George cycled to the party office by himself without violating norms.
Senior Congress leaders like Rajya Sabha member and AICC General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge, KPCC Working President Salim Ahmed and a host of Congress legislators, members of various wings of the party including NSUI were present at the protest. As part of their protest Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah even carried a hearse of a scooter to register their anger against the fuel price hike.
"During the UPA regime, cess on petrol was Rs 9.30 and on diesel Rs 3.45 but now it is Rs 32.98 and Rs 31.98 respectively. That is a 258% and 820% hike respectively. Is this a hike or robbery?" asked Siddaramaiah while addressing his party workers during the protest.
"Congress demands an answer to unfair hikes on petrol and diesel price by the BJP government on a daily basis," said Shivakumar. The party is said to have obtained permission to hold a protest and gather 200 people with adequate social distancing and precautionary measures but the cycle rally, gathering and address saw party workers gather by the hundreds risking the spread of COVID-19.
"The Congress is behaving irresponsibly at a time when the state is dealing with a huge crisis like COVID-19. They are playing politics at such a difficult time. Criticism is welcome but not at a time when the state is reeling under the COVID-19 threat," Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol told the media following the Congress protest.