BENGALURU: With the Congress determinedly continuing its Mekedatu padayatra on Tuesday with much fanfare and allegedly flouting Covid-19 protocol, unfazed by the FIR filed against party leaders, the Basavaraj Bommai government hinted at taking stringent measures before the padayatra reaches Bengaluru, which has been reporting a spurt in cases.
While BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Revenue Minister R Ashoka, MP Rajiv Chandrashekar and BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel have tested Covid-positive, the Congress appears to be thumbing its nose at the government’s restrictions.
KPCC president DK Shivakumar, especially, is flouting rules by continuing the padayatra, and could prompt firm action by the government, according to sources. On Monday, he again stoked a controversy by mingling with high school students as part of his padayatra, paying little heed to basic precautions — he wasn’t masked, and students wore their masks on their chins. His behaviour invited heavy trolling by the BJP.
“The state registered 12,000 cases yesterday with Bengaluru alone accounting for about 9,000, and the positivity rate has risen to 6.8% and 10% respectively. Karnataka stands third in the country. So more precautionary measures are needed,” CM Bommai said. “But the government is concerned about the health of those participating in the padayatra. It is the duty of the health department to check the condition of the walkers.” He urged participants to cooperate with health workers.
Shivakumar refused to undergo a test, and instead, accused the government of conspiring to ensure his test comes positive, by sending an infected person to collect his swab. He reiterated that the spike in cases is manipulation by the government.
Former CM M Veerappa Moily reportedly postponed the release of his autobiography. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, who dropped out of the padayatra after 4km on Sunday, has been advised rest by his personal doctors, and it remains uncertain whether he will rejoin the walk on Tuesday.
Ramanagara DC, officials test positive
Ramanagara Deputy Commissioner Dr K Rakesh Kumar, his deputy Javare Gowda and Zilla Panchayat CEO Ikram, who tested positive, are isolated and working from home. The DC, who tested positive four days ago, may resume work in three days, while Ikram is on the path to recovery. Javare Gowda, who met DK Shivakumar on Sunday evening, underwent a RAT on Monday.
This has led Shivakumar to accuse the government of attempting to send an infected officer to meet him. With Shivakumar being Javare Gowda’s primary contact, it remains to be seen whether he isolates himself. On Monday, though, Shivakumar looked visibly tired and has had a cough for a couple of days. He said he will remain silent for three days, as his statements are stoking controversy.