The police on Saturday arrested Dharwad MP and BJP State President Pralhad Joshi, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, and a few BJP workers for reportedly creating a ruckus near the deputy commissioner’s office.
High drama prevailed outside the district administration office, after an ugly spat broke out between the BJP men and the police. Expressing ire against the district administration over the late night arrest of a BJP zilla panchayat election contestant, the BJP workers tried to picket the deputy commissioner’s office and a minor clash broke out. As the police tried to prevent the agitators from laying siege to the DC office, a miscreant reportedly threw a stone on the police van parked outside the office. Another stone hit Joshi. Taking note of this, the police, as per the orders of the district election officer, arrested more than 25 BJP workers including Joshi and Shettar.
Condemning this move of the police, the workers raised slogans against the police and the district administration, alleging that the government machinery was working in favour of the Congress and had failed to hold the election in a fair manner. The arrested were taken to the town police station and released later.
Following information that BJP candidate from Hebballi ZP constituency Yogishgouda Goudar was holding a late night meeting at Amminbhavi on Friday, Deputy Commissioner Rajendra Cholan directed sub-inspector (SI) S S Kamatagi to check whether there was any violation of model code of conduct. Sources say that Goudar misbehaved with the SI and tried to assault Kamatagi. The police arrested Goudar on charges of misbehaving with the policemen and for violation of the code. He has been remanded in judicial custody.
The BJP men said that the officials had snatched the voting right of their candidate. As the district administration did not heed to their demand, the protesters tried to picket the office, but were arrested.
Joshi and Shettar said that their candidate had been arrested on false charges. Joshi said, Goudar - along with his supporters - had gone to Amminbhavi following news that Congress party was distributing money to woo the voters. As Goudar raised an alarm against election malpractice by the Congress, district incharge minister Vinay Kulkarni directed the officials to arrest him, they said.
Reacting to the incident, Cholan said Goudar was arrested on charges of violation of the election code of conduct and a case had been registered against him under IPC Section 353. The BJP could have fought it in the court, but holding the district administration responsible was unfair, he said.
Kulkarni has denied his involvement in the arrest of the BJP candidate.