Karnataka Congress temporarily withdraws Mekedatu padyatra

After pressure from several quarters, including BJP and the state government, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Friday finally withdrew its padyatra, ‘Walk For Water’, to demand the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river.

The temporary withdrawal comes after the 11-day march, which began Sunday, had already been held for five days and several Congress leaders and workers tested positive for Covid-19. Friday, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who had launched the march, also tested positive for the virus.

After a brief meeting, state Congress president D K Shivakumar and former Chief Minister and senior party leader Siddaramaiah addressed a press meet Friday and confirmed the withdrawal. Siddaramaiah said, “We are withdrawing the march for now and will continue our agitation once the Covid-19 situation in the state is under control.”

The decision to withdraw the march came after many of the senior leaders, including former Chief Minister S M Krishna, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and many others wrote letters to Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah.

The Karnataka High Court had also sought action and the state government is expected to submit its response Friday.

Also Friday, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which had given permission to hold a public gathering in Basavangudi national college grounds, withdrew the permission citing the Covid-19 situation.

According to sources, the Congress high command also insisted on withdrawing the march as the Covid-19 cases in the state are increasing and the BJP-led government is creating a narrative that the padyatra is paving way for the spike in the number of Covid cases in the state.

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