In a sign of political heat rising in Ramanagaram with Assembly elections close at hand, tension gripped Byrapatana in the district for sometime when members of Janata Dal (Secular) protested against a stone laying ceremony for developmental works by BJP MLC C.P. Yogeshwar, accusing him of going ahead with the event in the absence of local MLA and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
Angry protesters scuffled with the BJP workers, blocked the road for sometime and pelted stones to disrupt the programme. In the melee, someone threw eggs on the car in which Mr. Yogeshwar was travelling. According to the police, fisticuffs broke out between JD(S) and BJP workers over the allegation of “deliberating ignoring” Mr. Kumaraswamy. Amidst the commotion, Mr. Yogeshwar launched the programme accompanied by Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan, who is also the district in-charge Minister.
CM condemns incident
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai took to Twitter to condemn the incident, prompting the police to initiate action and book two separate cases charging the accused under Section 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and Section 427 (mischief), following a complaint by Mr. Yogeshwar against those who threw eggs on his car. The police have detained some protesters, but no arrests have been made so far.
Both Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Yogeshwar spoke to the media later, accusing each other of high-handedness and politicking in development works.
‘HDK is jittery’
“People are leaving JD(S) in droves in the district. So he [Mr. Kumaraswamy] is jittery and getting people from other districts to indulge in such goondaism,” he alleged. Mr. Yogeshwar insisted that he had invited Mr. Kumaraswamy, but the latter had not turned up. “They are scared of losing their seat in the upcoming elections and indulging in such acts,” he said. Mr. Ashwath Narayan also insisted that there was no breach of protocol and Mr. Kumaraswamy “should have been happy” that funds were bring brought to the district.
Mr. Kumaraswamy hit back not only at Mr. Yogeshwar for “breach of protocol”, but also targeted Mr. Bommai for allegedly granting ₹50 crore to the constituency “at the behest of a nominated MLC.” He called it “politicisation of civic works.” He alleged that local BJP and Congress leaders were in cahoots to ensure that he is “tied down” to the constituency in the upcoming Assembly elections next year.
With elections slated in mid-2023, the politically sensitive district of Ramanagaram is seeing more such incidents. Mr. Narayan and Congress’s Bengaluru Rural MP D.K. Suresh had nearly come to blows in full public view at an event in Ramanagaram in January this year.