BJP stages protest in Bengaluru to counter ruling Congress dharna in Delhi

The Karnataka BJP Wednesday staged a protest in Bengaluru against the alleged failures of the Congress government, apparently to counter the dharna held in Delhi by the ruling party under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to “fight for financial justice”.

BJP legislators and leaders led by the party state president B Y Vijayendra staged a sit-in demonstration in front of Mahatma Gandhi`s statue near Vidhana Soudha, which houses the State Legislature and Secretariat of Karnataka, newswire PTI reported.

Holding placards, the protestors raised slogans condemning the Congress government for allegedly failing to offer relief to drought-hit farmers and incentives to milk producers.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly R Ashoka, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Kota Srinivas Poojary and many former ministers were among those who took part in the agitation.

Led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, top Congress leaders from Karnataka staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the Centre over “injustice” meted out to the state in devolution of taxes.

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, several MPs, ministers and MLAs from the state took part in the protest.

The Congress alleges that “injustice” has been meted out to Karnataka in tax devolution and grants-in-aid over the past few years.

The protesters demanded that the Centre set right the losses to the tune of Rs 1.87 lakh crore allegedly incurred by Karnataka under the 15th Finance Commission.

Siddaramaiah said this protest is not against the BJP but the discrimination against Karnataka.

Dismissing the BJP`s allegation that the protest was aimed at raking up the North-South divide, the chief minister said the Congress wants the country to be united but there should be no discrimination against the southern states.

The chief minister said the formula used to devolve taxes to the states, especially Karnataka, under the 14th Finance Commission was changed by the 15th Finance Commission and called for reverting to the old formula to stop the loss of revenue for his state.

He said they would also submit a representation to the new Finance Commission for adopting the formula used by the 14th Finance Commission.

CPI(M) veteran and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with his cabinet colleagues, will stage a protest in Delhi against the Centre`s alleged negligence towards the southern state on February 8.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, BJP MP B Y Raghavendra alleged that the Congress government is `staging a political drama` to cover up its failures.

He said voters of Karnataka had elected the Congress to power with a lot of expectations but in just six months people as well as MLAs of the ruling party lost hope in the government as no developmental activities were taking place in the State.

“Now the government is not in a position to face the impending Lok Sabha election. They are trying to divert public attention from their failures. To cover up their failure, they are staging this political drama of pointing fingers at the Centre,” Raghavendra, son of former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, said. (With inputs from PTI)

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