Congress organises silent protest at 357 locations over civic apathy in Bengaluru

The Congress blamed the lack of infrastructure development in Bengaluru on the alleged demand by ruling BJP politicians for a 40% commission from contractors for government projects

Published - January 23, 2023 03:38 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar with Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah.

A file photo of KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar with Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah. | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

Amidst alleged civic apathy in Bengaluru, the opposition Congress organised silent protest demonstrations against the Karnataka government at 357 places in the city on January 23.

The Congress alleged that the ruling BJP politicians demand a 40% commission from contractors for government projects leading to lack of infrastructure development in Bengaluru.

The protests were held simultaneously at 280 road kerbs, 26 flyovers, and 51 metro stations in Bengaluru with former Chief Minister Siddaramiah, Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar, Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala, and other Congress leaders staging a protest at Trinity Circle in the Central Business District (CBD) leading to traffic snarls in the heart of the city for hours.

Mr. Shivakumar told reporters, “Corruption has increased in the BJP government, resulting in the pathetic condition of the city’s infrastructure. Now, the commission to the BJP politicians by contractors has increased from 40% to 50%. Recently, I met street vendors who claimed that they are being harassed by police and city municipal officials. Street vendors said that money collected from them by police is ₹1 crore per police station every month. Every day, the police collect ₹500 from street vendors in Bengaluru.”

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the BJP government, fearing defeat, is not conducting Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections. “If the BBMP elections are conducted now, our party will win majority of the seats,” he added.

Congress protest on corruption laughable, says Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai termed the protest on corruption as ‘laughable’. “Congress is the Gangotri (fountainhead) of corruption. They (Congress) are the ones who closed down the Lokayukta in the State when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister. Close to 59 cases were pending against Congress leaders, including against then Chief Minister. ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) closed these cases by filing B-reports without any investigation,” he said.

“Now, all the cases have been referred back to the Lokayukta by us. If they have evidence on our corruption, they can submit it to the Lokayukta,” Mr Bommai added.

Traffic snarls in Bengaluru CBD

Though the Congress protest was organised on the kerbside, CBD areas, including M.G. Road, Trinity Circle, Raj Bhavan Road, Queens road, Infantry Road, Halasuru Road and surrounding areas in Shivaji Nagar, reported traffic snarls on January 23 till afternoon, according to the traffic police.

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