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Republic Impact: Karnataka Congress Suspends Super Spreader Padyatra Amid Huge Outrage, Pins Blame On BJP

The Karnataka Congress party has decided to temporarily call off the Mekedatu Padyatra event after party's top ministers tested positive for COVID-19.

Image: Republicworld

After nearly three Congress leaders including Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge who inaugurated and participated in Mekedatu Padyatra tested positive, the event has been temporarily called off. The announcement was made by the state's opposition leader, Siddaramaiah. Moreover, the event might get rescheduled once the cases are reduced. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had also written a letter to Opposition Party Leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC President DK Shivakumar requesting then to withdraw the protest. 

He had also asked for the leader's to support and cooperate to take the Mekedatu issue forward in days to come:

Mekedatu Padayatra described as super COVID spreader

Apart from thousands coming together, the event also witnessed several children flouting COVID restrictions including wearing of masks and social distancing. On Wednesday, the state witnessed yet another spike with 21,390 fresh cases of COVID-19 and 10 fatalities, taking the tally to 30,99,519 and the death toll to 38,389. The state has been witnessing a steady surge in cases since the last week of December and had reported 14,473 new infections yesterday. Of the new cases on Wednesday, 15,617 were from Bengaluru Urban that saw 874 people being discharged and 6 deaths.

Congress leader asks 'where is COVID?'

Earlier, while speaking to the media, Congress leader DK Shivakumar had said, "Where is COVID? There is no COVID. The government has been manipulating the numbers (COVID-19 cases) to create a scare among the public and scuttle our Padayatra. The ruling BJP fears our Padayatra will expose its lack of commitment to addressing the drinking water issues. Isn’t BJP playing politics by imposing a curfew?" 

Several FIRs registered against Congress leaders for flouting COVID restictions

Four FIRs were already registered against over 60 Karnataka Congress leaders for flouting COVID-19 norms by participating in padayatra on Wednesday. This time the FIR has been filed at Ramnagar rural police station. A 3rd report was filed against 64 Congress leaders including state party president DK Shivakumar at the Kanakapura Town Police station and prior to this, two FIRs were already registered against the Congress leaders and workers at the Sathanoor police station on Monday and Tuesday respectively. 

The FIR action was taken as the state has been witnessing a rise in COVID-19 cases. The state government had also urged the opposition party to call off the padayatra but the Congress remained in a "defiant and denial" state as described by BJP leader Malavika Avinash. Tensions escalated after DK Shivakumar repeatedly flouted the virus norms despite reporting symptoms and refusing to get tested.

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