Don’t stifle farmers’ protest, DKS tells govt.

Taking serious except to the State government’s decision to block the entry of tractors into Bengaluru for the farmers’ rally scheduled for Tuesday, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar has urged the government to allow farmers to exercise their constitutional right to protest.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru on Monday, Mr. Shivakumar said everybody has a right to protest and give voice to their problems. “Don’t stifle the voice of farmers who put food on our plates,” the Congress leader told the BJP government in the State.

When his attention was drawn to the reason cited by the government that entry of tractors in large numbers into Bengaluru would create traffic chaos, Mr. Shivakumar said Tuesday would be a holiday on account of Republic Day and no vehicular bottlenecks will be created on a holiday.

Referring to the reports of police detaining tractors in different parts of the State and threatening the drivers, Mr. Shivakumar said the police should not behave as “puppets” of the State government. There is a constitutional provision for everybody to protest and the police should facilitate the farmers to exercise their democratic right to protest. “Even the Supreme Court told the farmers that they are free to protest,” Mr. Shivakumar said, referring to the apex court’s observation on the protest in the national capital.

He said farmers were “sons of the soil” and assured to stand by them in the protest. “If the tractors are seized, we will stand by the farmers. I have instructed the farmers’ wing of the Congress to support their fight,” he said.

Cong.-BJP coalition

Mr. Shivakumar dubbed the BJP government in Karnataka as a “Congress-BJP” coalition after claiming that Congress MLAs went to the BJP and “gifted” the saffron party an opportunity to form the government.

The Congress leader was apparently referring to the crossover of several Congress MLAs to the BJP in 2019 that paved the way for the B.S. Yediyurappa government to come to power.

When his attention was drawn to the trouble in the government over the Cabinet expansion and allocation of portfolios, Mr. Shivakumar chose to sarcastically give a reaction by repeating the claims of the BJP leaders. “They have no differences. They have enough numbers and their government is stable”.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 2:22:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dont-stifle-farmers-protest-dks-tells-govt/article33662015.ece

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