NEW DELHI: In a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday, the Congress party organized a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, accusing the Centre of unfair treatment towards Karnataka in tax devolution and grants-in-aid over the past few years. Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy CM DK Shivakumar led the demonstration in Delhi.
In response, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs from Karnataka held a counter-protest in front of the Gandhi statue within the Parliament premises today.This action was part of the BJP‘s larger protest against perceived failures of the Congress government in Karnataka. The BJP’s protest focused on allegations of corruption and mismanagement against the Karnataka Congress government, particularly highlighting internal disputes within the party.
The BJP legislators conducted a sit-in demonstration near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue outside Vidhana Soudha, the Karnataka legislature and secretariat. Their subsequent march towards the chief minister’s office led to police intervention, resulting in the detention of the protesting leaders.

Karnataka BJP MPs protest at Gandhi Statue in Parliament over misuse of funds by Congress-led state government

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Karnataka Congress takes protest to Delhi, warning of street agitation
Leaders of Karnataka Congress, including MPs and ministers, spearheaded by Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar, staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Their primary grievance was the alleged injustice meted out by the Centre in tax devolution and grants-in-aid, with a demand for rectifying losses amounting to Rs 1.87 lakh crore.
Shivakumar said that the protest resonated with the voice of Karnataka and issued a warning of street agitations within the state if the central government failed to address their concerns. The Congress accused the Centre of turning a blind eye to Karnataka’s interests.
BJP stages counter-protest in Bengaluru
Simultaneously, the BJP orchestrated a counter-protest in Bengaluru, terming the Congress’s demonstration in Delhi as a political charade. Led by BJP state chief BY Vijayendra, prominent leaders, including former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and leader of opposition R Ashoka, the members rallied at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha.
Vijayendra dismissed the ‘Chalo Delhi’ campaign as political theatrics, asserting that it reflected Congress’s inability to secure victories in any constituency within the state.

Karnataka Congress protests against Centre in Delhi: “Gross injustice” say top party leaders

In a symbolic act of dissent, BJP leaders tried to lock chief minister Siddaramaiah’s chamber as a mark of protest against the ruling government. Former chief minister BS Yediyurappa lambasted the Congress, describing the Delhi protest as a dramatic move to conceal their failures.
Over 30 BJP workers detained
BJP supporters, brandishing party flags, attempted to breach the Congress office, pushing aside barricades and leading to a tense standoff. Police intervened to prevent the situation from escalating further, resulting in the detention of more than 30 BJP workers.
Slogans denouncing the Congress as anti-national reverberated through the chaos.
PM Modi’s appeal for unity and caution
As the political temperature soared, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a plea urging the Congress and the Karnataka government to desist from creating a narrative that divides the country into north and south.
PM Modi expressed deep concern over such narratives, deeming them detrimental to the nation’s future. Criticizing the Karnataka government for fostering this divisive narrative, he labelled it anti-national and a departure from the principles of federalism.

Karnataka DY.CM DK Shivakumar’s brother, Congress MP Suresh, demands a ‘separate South Indian country’; triggers outrage

PM Modi while referring to the protest dharna by the Congress led by Siddaramaiah over alleged ‘injustice’ meted out by the Centre on devolution of tax share to the state, said, “Today I want to share my pain on a specific matter…The way language is being spoken these days to break the country, these new narratives are being made for political gains. An entire state is speaking this language, nothing can be worse for the country than this…what language have we started saying.”
PM said such narratives were not good for the country and could jeopardise its future.
Karnataka’s claim of discrimination in sharing central taxes “wrong, mischievous,” says Sitharaman
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has dismissed Karnataka’s allegations of discrimination in sharing central taxes, labeling them as “patently wrong and mischievous.” Addressing a conference in the Parliament premises, Sitharaman refuted the Karnataka government’s claims of significant losses due to the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.
She highlighted factual errors, false monetary claims, misleading statements, and the selective presentation of losses without acknowledging the gains accrued to the state during the 15th Finance Commission period. Sitharaman emphasized that each Finance Commission considers various factors and consults extensively with state governments to determine the share of central revenues allocated to each state.
Contrary to Karnataka’s assertions, Sitharaman said, “In the first four years of the current 15th Financial Commission period, Karnataka would have already received Rs 1,29,854 crore by March 2024. The Government of India has projected a further release of Rs 44,485 crore in the Interim Budget for Financial Year 2024-25, taking the total to Rs 1,74,339 crore in five years. This is higher than the 14th Financial Commission period despite the precipitous drop in revenue during the Covid-19 period,” said the finance minister.
(With inputs from agencies)

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