Traffic thrown out of gear as protests block roads across Bangalore
The rank and file of the Congress took to the streets here on Tuesday, stepping up their demand for the dismissal of the three-year-old B.S. Yeddyurappa Government.
Congress workers accused the Bharatiya Janata Party Government of corruption, nepotism, and favouritism and said the administration had collapsed.
They criticised the BJP for “purchasing” legislators through ‘Operation Lotus' and imposing a series of byelections on the people. They accused Mr. Yeddyurappa of receiving illegal donations from mine owners.
Party workers spread across 11 important intersections in the city, blocked traffic in the afternoon, disrupting the movement of people and vehicles for over an hour. They diverted buses of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, putting commuters to hardship. They held placards and raised the slogan “BJP hatao, Karnataka bachao”.
The police, who were present in large numbers, took the activists into custody and released them after some time.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Motamma, MLAs M. Krishnappa and Priyakrishna, and Karnataka State Cooperative Housing Federation president S.T. Somasekhar staged a dharna in front of the Rajarajeswari Nagar arch on Mysore Road. They urged the Union Government and President Pratibha Patil to dismiss the State Government.
Dr. Parameshwara broke 101 coconuts in front of the Rajarajeswari temple, praying for the immediate dismissal of the Government.
On Bellary Road near Bengaluru International Airport, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, the former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief, Krishna Byre Gowda, MLA, the former Council Chairman B.L. Shankar and the former Minister H.M. Revanna were taken into custody for disrupting traffic.
Among the leaders who participated in the protests were R.V. Deshpande on Kanakapura Road, H.K. Patil on Tumkur Road, M.V. Rajasekharan, Kagodu Thimmappa and R.V. Devaraj at Minerva Circle, Ramalinga Reddy and V.S. Ugrappa at Madivala check-post, A. Krishnappa and J. Alexander at K.R. Puram, Dinesh Gundu Rao at Seshadripuram, and Dayananda Reddy at Chandappa Circle.
Mahila Congress president Manjula Naidu and women Congress members staged a protest holding brooms in front of the Raj Bhavan.
Many Opposition leaders, including the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Mr. Siddaramaiah, and Dr. Parameshwara, met Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to greet him on his 74th birthday.
Sources said they possibly discussed the political situation in the State and reiterated their stand that the Governor should not allow the Government to convene a legislature session, in view of the Supreme Court verdict setting aside the disqualification of 16 MLAs.
Meanwhile, BJP workers, led by spokesperson S. Prakash, staged a demonstration in front of the Town Hall, demanding the recall of Mr. Bhardwaj.
The Governor was trying to destabilise Mr. Yeddyurappa's Government despite it enjoying a clear majority, they alleged.
Raising the slogan “Governor hatao, Karnataka bachao”, State BJP secretary Gopinath, BJP Bangalore unit president Subbanarasimha and city councillors criticised the Governor for not giving an audience to the 11 MLAs whose Assembly membership was restored by the Supreme Court.