The BJP government in Karnataka has filed a first information report against Congress leaders for violating COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“We have registered an FIR against Congress leaders and organisers of a padayatra (rally),” Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told NDTV.
Thousands of people including Congress leaders and party workers continue to defy COVID-19 guidelines as they participated in the rally for a second day in a row, the BJP has said.
The opposition mobilised the crowds from districts near Bengaluru to apply pressure on the ruling BJP government for starting the Mekedatu drinking water project.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar has run into controversy over the public event at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in the state and across the country, which is already in the midst of a third wave.
“I really pity him. We are concerned about his health, but he is criticising the Health Minister and the Home Minister. I am very surprised the way he spoke. This is unbecoming of a leader,” the Chief Minister told NDTV.
As a part of random testing, when a doctor entered DK Shivakumar’s camp asking him for his sample, he outrightly refused, saying he’s a public representative and that he would alert doctors if he had any symptoms.
“Rey mister, I am fit and fine. You can’t compel me. I know the law of this land. Tell your ministers I am fine. I won’t give my sample for testing. And there’s no requirement for that,” Mr Shivakumar said, while refusing to give samples for a COVID-19 test.
The Mekedatu project has been a matter of dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The project aims to provide drinking water to Bengaluru by building a balancing reservoir in the Cauvery River and Arkavathy tributary.
While Karnataka has been demanding the project, Tamil Nadu has been against it as they believe a dam will limit the flow of water to the state.
Challenging the BJP government and the COVID-19 norms, the Congress has eight more days to go before their massive rally for water ends in Bengaluru on January 19.
While the opposition claims that this is a people’s movement, fears lurk if this would turn out to be a super-spreader event.