In Karnataka, Congress to resume Mekedatu rally from February 27
The Congress rally, had been planned to take on the ruling BJP, in an attempt to put pressure on the government to implement the Mekedatu project. The project involves constructing a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu to regulate the flow of water to Tamil Nadu and also proposes a 400 MW hydroelectricity plant.
Leaders of the Congress party in Karnataka have announced that the party will resume the ‘Namma Neeru, Namma Hakku’ (our water, our right) padayatra demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah announced that the rally will resume from Ramanagara district on February 27 and conclude in Bengaluru on March 3.The padayatra was suspended due to a surge in Covid-19 cases last month.
Siddaramaiah said the padayatra will culminate at the National College Grounds in Basavanagudi as planned earlier and MLA Ramalinga Reddy will lead the padayatra when it enters Bengaluru.
“The rally will be held for five days and all our leaders, workers and the public will take part in the five-day padayatra. We had stopped it as our concern was that we shouldn’t add to the spread of the coronavirus Congress leaders will walk from Ramanagara to Bengaluru for five days starting February 27,” Siddaramaiah said.
The Congress rally, had been planned to take on the ruling BJP, in an attempt to put pressure on the government to implement the Mekedatu project. The project involves constructing a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu to regulate the flow of water to Tamil Nadu and utilise 4.75 tmc water for Bengaluru, and also proposes a 400 MW hydroelectricity plant.
The Karnataka government also has had to face criticism for its reluctance to act against the yatra for the project, reportedly because it did not want to give the Congress a handle, though it hadn’t hesitated to impose severe restrictions on other residents of the state.
The Congress had started the foot march on January 9 at the Sangama. Party leaders reached Ramanagara, covering a distance of 60 km, when they had to stop. The Karnataka Congress on January 12 decided to temporarily call off the 100 km padayatra for Mekedatu, terming it a ‘sacrifice’ in the interest of the state its people.
The decision came a day after the Basavaraj Bommai government decided to prohibit participation in the padayatra against the backdrop of a steep rise in Covid-19 infections across the state. The Karnataka high court too had come down heavily on the government for its inaction and the Congress for its defiance of restrictions imposed by the state government in view of the pandemic.
According to party insiders, the Congress believes that BJP has gained a political upper hand because of the ongoing hijab controversy and resuming the rally would give the Opposition a political momentum.