State

Congress takes graft issue to Karnataka districts, holds rallies- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Deciding to take the battle of 40 per cent commission allegations a notch higher, Congress leaders took out rallies and padayatras across the state on Saturday. Teams of senior Congress leaders, including legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, PCC chief DK Shivakumar, former deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwara, PCC working president Satish Jarkiholi and Eshwar Khandre, led the protests in different parts of the state, highlighting the issue of corruption in Karnataka.

A senior Congressman, requesting anonymity, said, “You cannot end this battle with Eshwarappa’s resignation. Contractors have listed seven to eight other names. Surely they will all have to go. Congress will go after the government till all of them are dropped. There have been allegations of corruption against ministers Shashikala Jolle, BC Patil, K Gopalaiah, Dr Sudhkar and others.”

Siddaramaiah spoke of alleged corruption in the Rs 20,000 crore Upper Bhadra Irrigation project which had been raised by BJP’s own MLC AH Vishwanath. Congress, seen as the sole opposition in the state, is taking maximum advantage of the corruption case as JDS is seen to be neutral on several issues.

Even on Friday, JDS senior leader HD Kumaraswamy slammed Congress and reminded the party of a corruption case against former minister KJ George when the party was in power. But Congress leaders retorted saying Kumaraswamy had no qualms in inducting George as a minister in his own ministry during the previous JDS-Congress coalition government.

Though Congress took out a mega-padayatra demanding the implementation of Mekedatu project a month ago, it had to be aborted midway due to Covid. It was resumed after a few weeks, but it did not have the desired impact. Congress is upbeat after the resignation of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa on Friday over allegations made by contractor Santosh Patil who committed suicide.

Analyst BS Murthy said, “For the first time in many years, Congress is operating as a true opposition party. They reached Santosh Patil’s house unitedly, announced Rs 11 lakh as compensation to the family, assured a job to his wife and carried out an all-night dharna. It has now hit districts to protest. I t looks like they are taking their job as an opposition party seriously.”

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