Congress' to resume its Padyatra over Mekedatu project, commuters asked to avoid route


Congress' decision to resume its Padyatra to demand implementation of the Mekedatu project has become a traffic nightmare for commuters. The yatra that will culminate at the National College Ground in Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on March 3 would mean traffic snarls along the Mysuru-Bengaluru road for the next few days. The daily commuters on the route have been asked to avoid it. The five-day padayatra themed, ‘Namma Neeru Namma Hakku’ is being led by the Congress' state president D K Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah. It will be covering 79.8 kilometres. This is the second leg of the march that ended abruptly in Ramanagara district on January 13, when the third wave of the COVID-19 had peaked. The foot march has been launched to question the BJP government both in the Centre and State for no implementation of the Mekadatu project despite no legal hurdles. The opposition has urged the central government to give environmental clearance and asking the state government to put pressure to get it done.

"It has been over 2.5 years since the BJP government came to power in the state. They have failed to get environment and forest clearance from the Centre, despite having their own party's government there. Tamil Nadu is opposing this project politically, not with any court orders in hand. If the project is not started, it will be a betrayal for the people of the state," Siddaramaiah said.

Though the padayatra is being projected as apolitical, it is also seen as Congress’ attempt to mobilize its voter base for the 2023 assembly polls and the BBMP polls. It is an attempt by the KPCC chief, ahead of assembly polls, to assert his chief ministerial ambitions as part of the Congress party, for which Siddaramaiah is also a strong contender. The party has seen several incidents of political one-upmanship between the two leaders last year. Other than that, the march is being seen politically, keeping in mind the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike elections, with the padayatra covering about 15 assembly constituencies in Bengaluru city in the days to come. The ruling parties have called this yatra a “political stunt," and accused the party of not doing anything while they were in power.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)