Karnataka Congress on Monday held ‘silent protests’ against the BJP government at about 280 places in the city, aimed at creating awareness among the public about their alleged corruption in the state.
The protests were held at various locations across the city with a call ”get rid of corruption, save Bengaluru”.
Hitting back at the opposition party, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai called the Congress the ”Gangotri (fountainhead) of corruption”, and said that the grand old party speaking on corruption is ”laughable”. Congress party leaders, including AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala, KPCC president D K Shivakumar and Legislature party leader Siddaramaiah among others took part in the protest at the Trinity circle junction here.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah accused the BJP government of destroying the pride of Bengaluru, while alleging that the corruption by the ruling party has reached sky-high.
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Stating that people from all sections of society are cursing this government as no work is happening without paying bribe, he said, ”so aimed at creating public awareness about getting rid of corruption, we are holding silent protests at more than 280 places. People of Bengaluru have decided. Last time we won the highest number of seats in Bengaluru. This time will win more than 20 out of 28 seats in the city.” Fearing defeat, the BJP is not holding Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections and are postponing it stating it will be held after Assembly polls, he said, adding that ”if corporation polls were held we would have won hundred per cent. For about two years now there is no corporation for the city.” KPCC chief Shivakumar alleged the BJP has not been able to keep the promises made to the people of Bengaluru and there is rampant corruption in everything including the public works, resulting in shoddy works and bad infrastructure for the city.
”Who should answer for potholes, garbage issues? Corruption in the city has increased to 50 per cent (commission for public works) from 40 per cent…street vendors are being harassed by corporation officials and police and according to them the money collected from them is to the tune of Rs one crore per police station every month. Every day up to Rs 500 is collected from a street vendors,” he said.
Reacting to Congress’ protest, Bommai speaking to reporters here said, Congress and its government headed by Siddaramaiah earlier is the reason for corruption everywhere including BBMP.
”They have the credit for increased premium from 40 to 60 per cent in Bengaluru under Siddaramaiah’s rule, there are records…To hide their faults they are indulging in such things. I have said if you (Congress) charge something do it by providing evidence and give it to Lokayukta like we are doing,” he said, as he accused the previous Siddaramaiah government of ”closing down” the Lokayukta, the anti-corruption watchdog.
”They (Congress) closed Lokayukta where 59 cases were against them including the then Chief Minister and created ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) to close those cases by filing B-reports without any investigation, all of them have been referred back to Lokayukta by us now…Corruption was part of the Congress government,” he added.