Buyseotools Trading 135 Karnataka MLAs, Congress leaders to stage protest against Centre in Delhi | Bengaluru

135 Karnataka MLAs, Congress leaders to stage protest against Centre in Delhi | Bengaluru

135 Karnataka MLAs, Congress leaders to stage protest against Centre in Delhi | Bengaluru post thumbnail image

Chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday announced that MLAs and MPs from the state will stage a protest in New Delhi on Wednesday against the central government’s tax devolution policies, according to an official letter. In preparation for the protest, Congress legislators have already arrived in Delhi and are currently residing at Karnataka Bhawan. Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar has been overseeing the arrangements at Jantar Mantar, which is the protest venue as well.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah with state deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar, state home minister G Parameshwara, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala and others during the party Leaders Meet ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Bengaluru on January 10. (ANI)

The protest at Jantar Mantar is expected to include 135 Congress MLAs, 28 MLCs, one Lok Sabha MP, and five Rajya Sabha MPs, with the potential participation of Independent MLA Darshan Puttannaiah. Alongside legislators, Congress officials from Karnataka and Youth Congress members are anticipated to join the demonstration against the central government’s policies.

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Ahead of the scheduled protest, chief minister Siddaramaiah has reached out to all Union ministers and MPs from Karnataka, urging their support. In letters dated February 5, Siddaramaiah highlighted the protest, dubbed “Chalo Delhi,” as a response to what he perceives as ongoing injustice and neglect towards Karnataka by the central government.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union minister for coal, mines and parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, and Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment A Narayanaswamy are among those invited to participate in the protest.

“The gross injustice in the distribution of tax share to Karnataka, neglect and delay in giving permission and assistance for various projects are affecting the life of the people in the state. The responsible elected representatives are aware of this. Therefore, on behalf of all the people of Karnataka, I request you to participate in this agitation and make it a success,” the chief minister’s letter to MPs stated.

In his letters, Siddaramaiah said the impact of inequitable tax distribution and delays in project approvals on the lives of Karnataka’s residents. He called upon elected representatives to unite in advocating for the state’s interests.

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“Lives of the people in the state are severely affected by the grave injustice in the devolution of taxes, not releasing drought relief, neglect and delay in providing clearances and grants for various projects in the state etc…,” the letter further stated.

Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah said the protest is non-partisan, framing it as a fight against injustice and discrimination in tax allocation. He urged all stakeholders to set aside political differences for the betterment of Karnataka. “It is not a fight against any party, it is a fight against injustice, discrimination in tax share and grant allocation by the central government in the Union system. For the future of Karnataka, for the peaceful life of the Kannadigas, tomorrow (Wednesday) morning we have started a dharsatyagraha at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.”

However, former minister KS Eshwarappa criticised the Congress-led state government for organising the protest at the taxpayers’ expense. He labelled it as an election stunt, suggesting that issues could be addressed through dialogue with the Union finance minister instead. “I had no objection if this was organised by the Congress. But, they are doing it with the government’s money. Their flight charges, stay, food and other expenses are borne by taxpayers’ money. This is an election stunt. If they had any issues, they could have met the Union finance minister and discussed,” Eshwarappa said.

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