Motorists travelling through the central parts of Bengaluru are having a harrowing time, as several thoroughfares face gridlocks owing to a rally organised by several organisations representing the Vokkaliga community in protest against the arrest of former Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar.
As thousands of protesters thronged the National College grounds from where the rally is set to start towards Freedom Park, Mysuru Road — one of the main arterial roads leading to the City centre — saw slowing down of traffic.
Parts of Basavangudi, Mysuru Road, J.C. Road and roads around National College witnessed sluggish traffic movement due to the surge of people.
According to Vokkaliga Sangha office-bearers, protesters from across the State had converged in the city.
Police have put up barricades from National College grounds to Freedom Park, a distance of around five km, to enable smooth movement of traffic.
While a number of Congress leaders, including KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, former Ministers Krishna Byre Gowda and Ramalinga Reddy, have joined the protest, the rally has also seen participation by Janata Dal (Secular) workers from the Vokkaliga heartland. Incidentally, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has been critical of the arrest of Mr. Shivakumar.
Addressing the rally, Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda said that the Union government had been using central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department as “hunting dogs.”
Terming the arrest of Mr. Shivakumar as “vendetta politics”, he said that the BJP was fighting him like cowards since they could not fight him politically. Mr. Ramlinga Reddy, who was accompanied by his legislator daughter Sowmya Reddy, said that “vendetta politics would boomerang” on the BJP.
Meanwhile, police have thrown a security cordon across the city to ensure that there is no law and order problem. Over 10,000 police personnel with 90 platoons of reserve police have been deployed and as many as 500 CCTV cameras have been installed at major junctions.