Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa lost his cool on seeing a group of Dalit Sangarsh Samiti protesters at a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally on Monday and lashed out at senior police officers in public for failing to prevent the protest.
As the protesters tried to shout slogans when he was about to address the rally, an incensed Yeddyurappa summoned Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil to the stage and shouted at him.
It was not clear what the DSS members wanted amid the din created by Yeddyurappa yelling at the police officer and BJP workers trying to outshout the protesters.
Even as Patil was trying to explain, the chief minister took on the protesters and told them that this was not the place to air their grievances.
"Your problems have not been solved all these years and you expect me to do so immediately. It takes time. I will take your memorandum and act on it. Give me some time," Yeddyurappa said.
Soon he cooled down, and addressing the rally launched a scathing attack on Congress for continuing with its march to Bellary even after he had banned iron ore export from ports in Karnataka and also transporting of the mineral to other ports for export.
"Uprooting Congress from the state is my aim," he thundered and announced that he too will go on dayatra' (walkathon) throughout the state from Aug 20.
The Congress launched a 320-km Bangalore to Bellary 'padayatra' July 25 and will Aug 9 reach its destination the political base of the mining barons and BJP ministers, the Reddy brothers. It plans to hold a rally in Bellary.
Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, his elder brother Revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy and the younger G Somashekara Reddy, an assembly member are accused of large scale illegal mining and export of iron ore from Bellary.
The Reddys have denied the allegations and have launched a 'padayatra' in Bellary claiming the Congress was 'defaming Bellary' by levelling false charges against them.
The Bellary 'padayatra' is led by their loyalist and Health Minister B. Sriramulu, who has tonsured his head and sworn to wear only black and survive on grains and fruits till Aug 20 when the BJP will hold a rally there.
The rally in Davangere, 260 km from Bangalore, was the first of the four planned by BJP to counter the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular campaign against the party led government over illegal mining. The second rally in Gulbarga in north Karnataka is on Aug 5, the third in Mysore in south on Aug 12 and the last in Bellary on Aug 20.
The Reddy brothers, senior party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu, party general secretary and Bangalore South Lok Sabha member H N Ananth Kumar, and state party president K S Eshwarappa attended the Davangere rally.