High drama over DK Shivakumar’s swearing-in as Congress president

While govt denies permission, CM says state has no reservation if limited people attended the event

Shivakumar had tweeted that he was postponing his tour to flood ravaged parts of the state on health grounds. File Photo: PTI

After Karnataka Congress alleged that the ruling BJP government played vendetta politics by denying permission to hold a party event, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has responded, saying his government did not have any reservation if limited people attended the event.

The Congress had sought permission to hold an event for the official swearing-in ceremony of DK Shivakumar as the party president on June 14. Shivakumar alleged that the state government had denied permission for the event, despite the Congress clearly saying that only 150 people would gather at the KPCC office.

“Because of the pandemic, there are restrictions everywhere. Otherwise, we don’t have any reservations for them to organise party events,” Yediyurappa said. “I contacted him (Shivakumar) over the phone and conveyed that he can organise the event in a peaceful manner without gathering many people.”

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The principal secretary to the revenue department on June 9 denied permission for the event, citing the Centre’s guidelines that banned public gathering and congregation in public places. Reacting to this, the Congress said it was looking into legal options. Also, Shivakumar wrote to the Chief Minister, questioning the government’s stand.

Amid the pandemic, the Congress on March 11 announced that Shivakumar would lead the state unit of the party, after incumbent leader Dinesh Gundu Rao resigned from the post, taking responsibility for the party’s poll debacle in the bypolls held in December 2019.

The party postponed the event twice—May 31 and June 7. However, it was set to be held at 7,800 locations across the state on June 14, with nearly a million expected to participate in the event. The programme was to be telecast live in all gram panchayats, municipal and corporation limits, besides at Congress offices across the state.

Pointing at the double standards of the BJP government, Shivakumar lashed out at the ruling dispensation claiming that they had allowed BJP leaders to participate in events in which thousands of people participated, but denied permission to Congress’ events.

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Earlier this month, State Minister of Health and Family Welfare B Sriramulu took part in a mega rally organised to welcome him to the Chitradurga district. He allegedly violated the lockdown rules while he arrived in the district to offer prayers during a religious festival.

Though Shivakumar did not name the minister, he indirectly hinted at Sriramulu, flouting norms and that the BJP was okay with it.

Meanwhile responding to the Chief Minister’s statement, Shivakumar on Thursday (June 11) thanked Yediyrapppa and said the new date for his official swearing-in would be announced soon.

“Since I announced yesterday (June 10) that the show would not be held on June 14, I could not do that event now. This issue needs to be discussed with party leaders. We will announce the new date soon,” the Congress leader told reporters.

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