Bengaluru: Defying social distancing and mask wearing, hundreds of Karnataka Congress leaders and cadres on Monday staged a cycle rally in the city against steep hike in petrol and diesel prices by the Central government.
“The cycle rally in Bengaluru and across the southern state is a part of our nationwide protest against increasing petrol and diesel prices by state-run oil marketing firms due to increase in excise duty by the central government at a time when crude oil is trading at its lowest price the world over,” a party leader told IANS.
Party’s state unit president D.K. Shivakumar, opposition leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, party’s state unit working president Sameer Ahmed and senior leaders Ramalinga Reddy and Dinesh Gunde Rao participated in the cycle rally from the party’s office to the Income-Tax office, a km away.
In this tech city, petrol price rose to Rs 83.04 per litre and diesel Rs 76.58 a litre after a 21-day rally till Saturday.
“Fuel prices have been increased almost daily since June 7 resulting in Rs 9.17 cumulative hike in petrol rate and Rs 11.14 in diesel rate,” asserted the party leader.
Acting as pall-bearers, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar held an old scooter draped in a while cloth as a ‘dead body’ at the party office in a symbolic protest against the fuel hike and how the citizens were suffering.
As the cycle rally pedalled through a busy road between the Cantonment railway station and I-T office in the city centre, an ambulance got stuck in the grid lock due to heavy vehicular traffic on the week’s first working day.
“It is unfortunate that the opposition Congress is endangering the health of its leaders and cadres by staging a cycle rally without maintaining physical distance and many of them not wearing mask properly,” lamented BJP’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudhana.
Noting that an opposition party had right to protest in democracy on any issue or the government, Madhusudhana said, but it had no moral right to risk the health of its leaders and cadres when Covid cases were spiking in the city.
Of the record 1,267 positive cases registered on Sunday, Bengaluru accounted for a whopping 783, which is highest in a single day, taking its tally to 3,314, with 2,692 active cases and 533 discharged, while 88 died due to the virus.