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Karnataka Congress march for siege of Raj Bhavan foiled

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Karnataka Congress march for siege of Raj Bhavan foiled

Bengaluru, Jan 20 (IANS) The Karnataka unit of the Congress, together with farmer groups, set out on a protest march to lay siege to the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday, opposing the Union government’s controversial farm laws of last year.

But the Congress party’s bid to lay siege to the Raj Bhvan was foiled with the Bengaluru police taking 30 top Congress leaders including Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah into custody and releasing them later.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D. K. Shivakumar, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, Congress leader G. Parameshwara and Rajya Sabha MP M. Mallikarjun Kharge were among those who took part in Wednesday’s protest march.

All these leaders first gathered at Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station (City Railway Station) and began the ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ (March to Raj Bhavan) to lay siege and demand the rollback of the three contentious farm laws.

Hundreds of Congress workers and farmers gathered at Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station in Bengaluru and marched till Freedom Park for a sit-in protest on Wednesday.

Even as hundreds of Congress workers and farmers began their march they were stopped by the police. The protestors gathered at Freedom Park, where they held a sit-in protest.

Addressing party workers at the Freedom Park here, Shivakumar accused the BJP government of using the police to clamp down on the farmers.

“Karnataka government is misusing the police force to suppress the voice of farmers. The police have detained several Congress party workers and farmers, who were supposed to arrive from various districts to Bengaluru for the Raj Bhavan Chalo protest,” he charged and added that this was happening since Tuesday night itself. “Dissent is the lifeblood of democracy,” Shivakumar said.

Appealing to the party workers and farmers to sit down on the roads and protest if stopped by the police, he said no one can take away their right to protest. “I appeal to you to sit down on the roads and protest if the police stop you from entering the city,” he added.

Siddaramaiah said that the party would stand by the farmers and protest against the controversial laws until they are withdrawn completely.

“Though Yediyurappa wears a green shawl and says he lives to serve farmers, wearing the green shawl is not enough. The farmers are demanding that the three laws be withdrawn. Can Yediyurappa defy his party leadership and roll back the anti-farmers decisions his government has taken so far,” he questioned.

Farmers in Karnataka and across the country have been protesting against the three controversial legislations since last year. The three legislations include The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

The ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ organised by the Congress caused a major traffic gridlock in the heart of Bengaluru, as hundreds of party workers took to the streets. Even though the police had diverted vehicular movement in Majestic area, the heart of the city and the busiest locality in terms of traffic, the march led to a traffic gridlock in the surrounding areas and affected other parts of the city too.

Police blocked the flyover on Sheshadri Road and diverted vehicles coming from Goods Shed Road to Majestic. The vehicles were diverted towards Upparpet police station and then proceeded to Malleshwaram and other areas in North Bengaluru.

Due to the diversions, vehicles queued up on roads in Ananda Rao Circle, Sheshadripuram, Upparpet, Race Course Road and surrounding localities. Also, as some farmers tried to bring their tractors inside the city, traffic was affected on Mysuru Road.

Commuters had a tough time getting out of the traffic gridlock and waited for longer than usual on the roads. In Majestic, more than 500 policemen were deployed for security along with KSRP and CAR platoons.

–IANS

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