Vokkaliga angst spills on to streets

Vokkaliga angst spills on to streets

 A massive protest rally and padayatra by the Vokkaligas here on Monday morning triggered long gridlocks in the City.

The demonstration was organised by the Vokkaliga Sangha to send a message to the BJP high command over its decision to remove D V Sadananda Gowda as the chief minister.

At a Jana Jagruthi Sabhe held at Kuvempu Kalakshetra Monday morning, community leaders were asked to condemn the actions of the BJP, which they alleged amounted to “succumbing to the Lingayat lobby and blackmail by some elements in the party”.

The meet was led by Najavadhoota Swami, a Vokkaliga seer.

Those assembled took a decision that all 18 BJP Vokkaliga legislators should resign as a mark of protest till the BJP high command “realises its mistake and continues with Sadananda Gowda”.

C N Ashwathnarayan Gowda and Muniraju, both Vokkaliga legislators of the BJP from the City, announced their support for the proposal and said they would resign if necessary.

However, several other Vokkaliga leaders were conspicuously absent from the meet, including Home and Transport minister R Ashok and Suresh Gowda, a director of the association.

The meeting was attended by about 1,000 Vokkaliga community members from all parts of the City. Following the meeting, they took out a protest rally towards the Town Hall by 12:30 pm.

Traffic jams

As the demonstrators passed through Minerva Circle and JC Road, traffic was blocked for more than an hour creating problems for commuters and the traffic police.

The march culminated at the Town Hall late in the afternoon. The protesters staged a ‘rasta roko’, blocking traffic on the arterial roads at the crucial junction.

The blockade was finally cleared by police who had assembled in anticipation of the march. Minor altercations and arguments between protesters and police were reported.

Later, protesters sat on a dharna in front of the Town Hall. The movement of traffic in the adjoining areas was disrupted for almost an hour, and there was traffic jam up to two kilometres away from the Town Hall — on all arterial roads.

The protesters wanted to meet Governor H R Bhardwaj and chief minister Gowda to submit a memorandum.

Initially, the request was refused by the police, but later they granted protestors permission to march to the Kumarakrupa Guest House.

However, the protestors marched to Krishna – the chief minister’s home office and submitted a memorandum to Gowda, asking him not to resign and that they would stand by him.

Gowda told protestors that he understood the community’s pent up anger and assured them that he would bring it to the notice of the high command immediately.

However, he requested them to withdraw the protests immediately. 

The protestors then assembled at the Adi Chunchanagiri Mutt at Vijayanagar to hold consultations with Bala Gangadharanath Swami, the strong Vokkaliga seer over their next course of action.

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