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Dalit groups' protest mars Yediyurappa's campaign

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Special Correspondent

They were protesting against his `disrespect' for B.R. Ambedkar

Members of Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Sagar) tried to stop his motorcade Dalit Sena activists shout slogans during his speech

GULBARGA: Protests by Dalit organisations marred Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa's campaign for the Legislative Council election from the Northeast Graduates' Constituency here on Wednesday.

They were protesting against Mr. Yediyurappa "insulting" B.R. Ambedkar soon after taking charge as Deputy Chief Minister.

Members of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Sagar) led by its State unit organising convener Malleshi Sajjan and district unit convener Arjun Bhadre stopped his motorcade near the helipad on the District Police Headquarters grounds despite the presence of a large contingent of police.

Explanation

Mr. Yediyurappa got out of the vehicle and tried to explain to them that he had not asked the authorities to remove Dr. Ambedkar's portrait from his office and that he had great respect for the leader.

But the DSS workers tried to enter into an argument with him and continued shouting slogans. The police intervened to make way for the motorcade.

Later, at the venue of the BJP workers' convention in Veerashaiva Kalyana Mantap, Dalit Sena activists started shouting slogans against Mr. Yediyurappa for "insulting" Dr. Ambedkar as he began his speech. They were removed by the police.

Concern

Mr. Yediyurappa expressed concern over the continued protests by Dalit organisations despite him clarifying that he had not meant to dishonour Dr. Ambedkar. He said he would not be cowed down by such agitations.

"Nobody can question by commitment to the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. I introduced several welfare measures for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in my first budget. It is wrong to project me as an anti-Dalit," Mr. Yediyurappa added.

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