Mekedatu: State Govt. conspiring to scuttle padayatra, says Shivakumar

We won’t let their plan succeed: KPCC president

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar has accused the BJP Government of conspiring to stop the Congress’ padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru.

Talking to reporters here on Monday, he said it was “impossible” to stop the 10-day padayatra, starting on January 9.

Mr. Shivakumar said the party had taken adequate precautionary measures against COVID-19: one lakh face masks and sufficient quantity of sanitisers for use by the participants, had been ordered.

Also, hygiene would be maintained at schools, choultries, religious mutts, and houses, where the participants would spend the nights during the padayatra.

A team of over 100 doctors, who are part of the medical unit of the Congress, would accompany the participants.

Mr. Shivakumar also accused the BJP Government of trying to influence journalists to come out with negative stories in the media about the threat of COVID-19 outbreak from the padayatra. He claimed that he had learnt about the BJP Government’s conspiracy against the padayatra through his “friends in the media”, whose identity he refused to divulge.

The KPCC chief said the Government was trying to “create” a lockdown and declared that the Congress’ struggle for the rights of the State, through the padayatra, would not be given up even if a lockdown was declared.

“It is impossible to stop the padayatra. It is a big conspiracy. We will not yield to them,” he said.

Mr. Shivakumar also claimed that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and several Ministers, who had participated in weddings, had violated COVID-19 protocol, but no action had been initiated against them.

Speaking to reporters after offering prayers at Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Hills, Mr. Shivakumar referred to the congregations and meetings organised even by the BJP recently. “Was there no threat of COVID-19 then?” he asked.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sought to refer to the public rallies being addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, besides several BJP Ministers at the Centre in Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections were round the corner, and wondered if there was no threat of COVID-19 from these gatherings.

However, Mr Siddaramaiah too promised that all precautions would be taken at the padayatra against COVID-19.

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