BJP stirring up Mandya to find political base: Karnataka Dy CM D K Shivakumar

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BENGALURU: As BJP and JDS workers led a massive protest in Mandya to oppose the state government’s decision to remove the saffron flag hoisted on a 108-foot flagpole in Mandya’s Keragodu village, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Monday accused the BJP of stirring up emotions in Mandya to build a political base in the district.

Speaking to reporters on the controversy around Hanuma Dwaja, D K Shivakumar said, “BJP leaders are trying to disturb peace in Mandya for political gains. BJP candidates lost deposit in many of the constituencies in Mandya and hence they are trying to find a political base by joining hands with the JDS. Their efforts will not pay off as the people of Mandya are tolerant and secular and they won’t fall for gimmicks like this. Our objective is to ensure peace.”

When asked about the comments of the BJP leaders that Congress is anti-Hindu, he said, “We are all Indians first. Kempegowda Committee and Dalita Sangharsha Samithi also want to hoist the flag there. Are we not all Hindus? Are the people of Mandya, not Hindus? BJP is trying to create disturbance for its gain.”

Earlier, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said that protesters are free to do politics but should not take the law into their own hands.

“They should have basic common sense. Let them do politics, not take the law into their hands. We respect all religions. We can’t allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” Shivakumar said speaking to reporters on Monday.

In response to a question from a reporter whether permission was given to hoist only the national flag from the flag pole, Shivakumar said, “That is why I am telling you. They want to do politics. Let them do.”

BJP and JDS which are partners in the National Democratic Alliance are holding a ‘padyatra’ after the saffron flag hoisted on the 108-foot flagpole in the village was removed.

Meanwhile, security has been heightened and Section 144 has been imposed in the village as tensions prevailed in Keragodu.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) prohibits the gathering of four or more people in a specified area.

Former Village Panchayat vice president, Virupaksha said that when the “request letter” was written, it was mentioned that the flagpole would also be used for religious purposes. “The Chief Minister does not know the reality of this controversy. The officer at the district level has given the wrong information to the Chief Minister. When we wrote the request letter, we mentioned that would also use this for religious purposes. What we are requesting is to permit us to hoist the saffron flag,” Virupaksha said.

In his response, CM Siddaramiah on Sunday said that it was not right to hoist the Bhagwa flag instead of the Indian flag.

Accusing the BJP of plotting against the state government by intimidating people in the village, the Chief Minister said, “It is no accident that the Hanuman flag is hoisted where the national flag should have been hoisted, deliberately violating the rules and protesting against the government.”

“This incident is a pre-arranged act of the BJP and Sangh Parivar. Such a situation has been created with the intention of systematically raising the people against the state government. There is no doubt that the plot to create communal riots in Mandya is a preparation for the Lok Sabha elections by the BJP leaders,” Siddaramaiah claimed.

The Chief Minister said that his government is committed to maintaining peace and order in society. (ANI)

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