The Karnataka Congress's plan to march and lay seige to Raj Bhavan, to protest against the alleged 'mental harassment' of their leader Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate was cut short by police. Bengaluru police stopped the rally at Balekundri circle on Thursday and took the senior leaders into custody.
The protest march led by KPCC chief D. K.Shivakumar and CLP leader Siddaramaiah started at the KPCC office on Queen's road and was stopped at least a kilometre away from the Governor's official residence.
Earlier, the state Congress leaders had vented out their ire against the ruling BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah alleging misuse of central agencies like ED, CBI and IT department to rein in their political opponents.
"Our leader Rahul Gandhi was interrogated for 30 hours in the last three days. We are not against any inquiry. But, the BJP is making a false case and misusing the ED to harass Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. Today, the BJP is targeting the Congress party and tomorrow it could be any other party. I urge all the political parties to condemn this as anti-democratic act of the BJP before it is too late,” said Siddaramaiah.
The former chief minister also alleged the BJP had hatched a conspiracy against Rahul Gandhi fearing his growing popularity if the Congress party's 'Bharat Jodo' campaign is allowed to take place.
"Our party has decided to carry out Bharat Jodo campaign - a padayatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, which is sure to make both the Congress and Rahul Gandhi hugely popular among the people. The BJP has hatched the plan to thwart it," claimed Siddaramaiah.
Shivakumar slammed the BJP government for trying to curb the protest saying, "The Constituition gives us the right to protest. The health minister is worried about the Congress rally spreading Covid. But, he has turned blind to the BJP events. We are ready to get arrested or face the consequences."
Defending the party leadership, Shivakumar said that the ED summons to Rahul Gandhi and his interrogation was 'murder of democracy.'
"The BJP is trying to fabricate a case, harass, defame and arrest our leader. In fact, the Nehru family has donated assets worth Rs 20,000 crore in Allahabad. The family has never declared Young India or National Herald as their personal properties. It belongs to the Congress party workers as it propagates the party ideology. Pandit Nehru went to jail and brought freedom for the country, Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed his life for the country and both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi sacrificed power. They should not be tortured like this," said Shivakumar, who also condemned the BJP for preventing the congressmen from going to the AICC office in Delhi.
"The party office is our temple. Our protest is for the party and its leadership and most importantly to safeguard democracy. We don't want the central agencies to be the puppets in the hands of the BJP, " he said.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the state Congress leaders' protest had only exposed their 'slave mentality.'
"Is there a common law for all in this country or is there a separate law and Constitution for the Congress leaders? How can a party which is 130 years old not have faith in the Constitutional bodies of this country?," he asked.