Karnataka: Vokkaliga community unites against Shivakumar’s arrest; accuses BJP of ‘misusing’ agencies

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on September 11, 2019

Vokkaliga community and the supporters of former minster DK Shivakumar at a protest rally in Bengaluru, on Wednesday   -  BL

Vokkaliga or Gowda (landowning) community, led by several co-organisations, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), protested against the arrest of Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar.

They termed the BJP a ‘coward party’ which could not “finish” former minister DK Shivakumar politically, and has now, according to them, resorted to cornering him by unleashing Income-Tax department (I-T) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on him.

About 30,000 people belonging to the community and supporters from across the State converged at National College Grounds and marched through Bengaluru’s main streets to reach Freedom Park. The protesters were mainly from old-Mysore districts — Bengaluru rural, Ramanagara, Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara and Hassan. They raised slogans against the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and a few State BJP leaders.

Ahead of the march, leaders mainly from the Congress and the JD(S), cutting across parties, addressed the gathering and lashed out against the BJP. Former minister Krishna Byre Gowda claimed that the Union government had been using central agencies such as the ED and the I-T Department as ‘hunting dogs’. Terming Shivakumar’s arrest ‘vendetta politics’, he said that the BJP was fighting him like a coward since they could not fight him politically. Former Congress minister Ramalinga Reddy said the BJP is pursuing “vendetta politics and it would boomerang” on it.

DK Shivakumar, who is in ED custody, tweeted: “I wholeheartedly thank leaders, supporters, well-wishers and friends who have organised a massive protest in my support in Bengaluru. I humbly request that the protest be peaceful & doesn’t cause any inconvenience to citizens. Please ensure the public property isn’t harmed.”

BJP leaders’ denial

Ministers CN Ashwath Narayan, R Ashoka and CT Ravi publicly denied that the BJP is targeting Shivakumar and the community.

Vokkaliga leaders in the BJP and also expressed concerned over how the issue has acquired ‘caste colour’, and the protests by their community against the “misuse of central agencies”.

Ashoka said it was shameful that the Congress was making it an “issue of caste”. “The ED arrested Shivakumar for suspected illegal transactions. Neither the BJP nor the Union government has a role in his arrest. Investigative agencies act within the framework of the Constitution,” he tweeted. Ravi called upon the Vokkaliga leaders “to think realistically and not emotionally”.

Published on September 11, 2019

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