The Karnataka unit of the Congress on Monday took out a mega ‘Freedom March’ in the city to commemorate 75 years of independence with thousands of people participating from various parts of the state. Senior party leaders, including former chief minister Siddaramaiah, All India Congress Committee general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, party state chief D K Shivakumar, his brother and MP D K Suresh, and former state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao were among those who led the march.
The tricolour could be spotted all along the route from where the rally passed and all participants held a flag in their hand. After passing through important routes including Anand Rao Circle, Freedom Park, Corporation, Town Hall, Minerva Circle, VV Puram, the rally culminated at the National College Ground where a public meeting was organised.
Addressing the gathering, Siddaramaiah said the first Prime Minister of the country Jawaharlal Nehru made a sincere effort to build a modern India during his 17-year tenure and accomplished many important projects. He built many dams, roads, ports, airports and made the country self-reliant in agriculture, the former Chief Minister said. He rued that inequality still existed despite rapid progress being made in the country. “Until we achieve financial and social equality, there is no meaning to political equality and the independence of the country,” Siddaramaiah said.
In his address, Shivakumar said people are suffering due to price rise and people are living in fear due to uncertainty. “Nobody’s income doubled as was promised. Prices have sky-rocketed while income has hit the netherworld. They are out to change the character of the country but no one can change this history of our nation,” Shivakumar said.
He expressed anguish over the way attempts were made to erase the contribution of Nehru and his successors from history books. The event is seen as a show of strength by the Congress ahead of state Assembly elections next year.
“We are organising this event to tell the people about the sacrifices made by the great freedom fighters to get independence, whose fruits we all are enjoying today,” Suresh told reporters ahead of the march. Bengaluru was chock-a-block with Congress workers and party leaders on the city roads. Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure that the commuters were not put to hardship and law and order is maintained.
The march is also perceived as Congress state chief Shivakumar’s answer to ‘Siddaramotsava, organised by a section of Congress leaders to project Siddaramaiah as the chief ministerial candidate, held in Davangere earlier this month. Shivakumar is also contending for the top post if the party comes to power.
Shivakumar and his brother Suresh had organised a march for a balancing reservoir across Cauvery river from Mekedatu in Shivakumar’s Assembly constituency Kanakapura to the state capital, which was marred by legal hurdles due to the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year.