Cong. takes out huge rally in Mysuru ahead of Mekedatu padayatra

D.K. Shivakumar defends event; Siddaramaiah says there is no political agenda

The Congress party took out a mammoth rally in Mysuru on Monday as a prelude to the padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru to build pressure on the BJP Government in the State to start work on the project.

The rally, which was attended by a large number of party leaders and workers, began after former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D.K. Shivakumar garlanded the statue of Basaveshwara near Gun House Circle.

Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar were joined by a hundreds of party workers in their padayatra from Basaveshwara statue to the party office near the railway station through Chamaraja Double Road, Ramaswamy Circle and Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Road.

Traffic on the route and adjoining roads was hit as the padayatra, comprising party workers holding the party flag, accompanied by folk troupes with drums and other musical instruments, wounds its way to the Congress office. A huge garland of apples was specially prepared for the occasion while flower petals were showered on the leaders during the rally.

Addressing the gathering at the convention, which had been organised to mobilise participants for the Mekedatu padayatra and also to mark the launch of the Congress membership drive, Mr. Shivakumar said BJP had failed to start work on the project even though a Detailed Project Report (DPR) had been submitted to the Centre when he was the Minister for Water Resources in the previous coalition government.

Referring to the jibes over the padayatra by BJP and JD(S), Mr. Shivakumar wondered why the BJP leader L.K. Advani had taken out the Rath Yatra. Similiarly, he said JD(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda too had taken out padayatras for political reasons.

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah denied that the padayatra for Mekedatu project had been planned to serve the Congress party’s political purposes. The padayatra had been planned to ensure drinking water to the people of Bengaluru and protect the rights of people of Cauvery basin over their waters. “More than 2.5 crore people will be benefited from the project”, he claimed.

On the contrary, he said the rival BJP and JD(S) feared that the Congress will gain political mileage out of the exercise.

The outcome of the recent elections to the Legislative Council and urban local bodies had heightened their political fears. “There is no need for the Congress party to stage a political gimmick by taking out a padayatra”, he clarified.

A large number of party leaders including KPCC working president R. Dhruvanarayan, former Ministers H.C. Mahadevappa and Tanveer Sait; Anil Chikkamadu and Yathindra Siddaramaiah, MLAs; and D. Thimmaiah, MLC, were also present on the occasion.

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