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Karnataka Congress to hold convention to protest BJP allegations

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-02-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: The Congress party in Karnataka will organize a Satyameva Jayate convention in Bengaluru on Wednesday to counter the allegations of corruption levelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Senior Congress leaders said on Tuesday that the party has been forced into reactionary measures by the opposition, leaving little time for more pressing matters facing the state.

For weeks now, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state has been kept busy by the principal opposition party which has already seen one non-productive legislative session in February.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Dinesh Gundu Rao agreed that they are being drawn away from more important issues but blames the media for playing up the corruption allegations made by BJP state president B.S. Yeddyurappa which he says is “forcing the Congress to react.”

“The convention is being organized to give a befitting reply to the fallacies being spread by the BJP,” he said in Bengaluru on Tuesday while adding that they will soon have a state wide protest as well.

Karnataka is reeling under one of its worst droughts for several decades. The state government has declared 139 of the 177 talukas as drought affected areas. The state is also facing an acute water crisis and Siddaramaiah has so far been unable to make any progress on the Mahadayi river—key to providing water in north Karnataka—issue with the Goa and Maharashtra governments. Majority of the farmers in the state are yet to receive any relief either.

Rao says that the government is not getting disturbed by the protests held by the party.

The chief minister has been touring drought affected districts of the state ahead of the 2018 elections. However, he and his cabinet colleagues have been busy defending the party against corruption allegations-hogging much of the political media space.

“The Congress has no option but to defend themselves,” said Narendar Pani, Bengaluru-based political analyst and faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

He adds that charges of corruption stick when people are disappointed with a party. Siddaramaiah’s government has faced allegations of corruption, sex scandals and non performance heading into the final year of its term.

Yeddyurappa and the BJP have used the wave against the Congress to its fullest extent and has said that it will continue to ‘expose’ the corruption in the government.

Yeddyurappa, on 12 February, alleged that chief minister Siddaramaiah had received a kickback of Rs150 crore for sanctioning the controversial Rs1,791 crore steel flyover in Bengaluru and off this Rs65crore was paid to the party high command. He added that K.Govindaraj, Congress member of legislative assembly was maintaining the details of monies paid to the party high command and that this was entered in a diary confiscated by the income tax department, Mint reported.

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