Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that the corruption in the state BJP government will be among the key issues discussed during the Karnataka leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Speaking at the launch of the Karnataka leg of the foot march at the border town of Gundlupet in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district, Rahul said the yatra was the “voice of the nation” and that “entire India was sharing its pain with the yatra”. People were sharing concerns about unemployment, inflation, harassment of farmers, privatisation of PSUs etc, Rahul added.
All constitutional institutions, media and other agencies have shut their doors to the Opposition, Rahul said. “Entire control is lying with the (Central) government. If we speak in Parliament, they shut our microphones,” Rahul said, insisting that the foot march was the only path left. “Nobody can stop this foot march,” he added.
Rahul is expected to cover a distance of 511 km along eight districts of Karnataka in 21 days. On Day One of the Karnataka leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the march will move from Gundlupet to Begur, where Rahul is scheduled to interact with members of the Soliga tribal community and families of victims who perished due to oxygen shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Siddaramaiah, who was also present at the event, took a dig at the state BJP government, saying that people of the state knew it only as the “40 per cent commission government”. This was in reference to the corruption allegations levelled against the state government by the Karnataka State Contractor’s Association.
Siddaramaiah also accused the BJP of being unable to digest the success of the yatra and tearing up and defacing posters put up in its support. “I want to warn them that if they continue to do so, it will be difficult for any BJP leader to move around the state,” he said.
In the next six months, Congress will reclaim power in the state by winning the elections scheduled in 2023, Siddaramaiah added. Accusing a “few police personnel” of being hand in glove with the BJP, the former Karnataka chief minister said that such officials will be taught a lesson when the Congress returns to power.
The BJP, he said, was dividing people along the lines of caste and religion to reap political dividends. “It is our responsibility to put an end to it,” Siddaramaiah said.
The Kerala and Tamil Nadu leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra concluded at Gudalur located on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, around 50 km from Gundlupet. The foot march through Bandipur Tiger Reserve was skipped and Rahul resumed his yatra from the border town of Gundlupet.