Karnataka: Janata Dal Secular backs Congress' Bharat Bandh call on Monday

JDS chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda said, "Our party extends support for tomorrow's Bharat Bandh. I also urge other parties to extend support."

Karnataka: Janata Dal Secular backs Congress' Bharat Bandh call on Monday

Karnataka's ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) will support the nationwide strike (Bharat Bandh) call of the Congress for Monday, it was announced on Sunday. JDS chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda said, "Our party extends support for tomorrow's Bharat Bandh. I also urge other parties to extend support."

The state government has declared a public holiday for Monday for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a precautionary measure.

Congress has called for a bandh against the rising fuel prices by the NDA-led government. While announcing the decision, the Congress had urged other opposition parties and civil society groups to join their protest against the government.

As the JD-S-Congress coalition government cannot officially associate with the shutdown, the party has agreed to join the Congress in protests and participate in rallies to be staged in cities and towns across the state.

"Party leaders and cadres will assemble on Monday at the Town Hall in the city centre and in all the district headquarters against the fuel price hike and weakening of the rupee against the US dollar," said the official.

The alliance partners will also protest against the misuse of the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax office against opposition leaders.

Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda will join other opposition leaders at a protest rally and meeting in New Delhi.

In view of the dawn-to-dusk shutdown call, the police have tightened security across the state, especially in Bengaluru, deployed additional forces in sensitive areas and stepped up vigil at vital installations.

"Peaceful protests, demonstrations and rallies will be allowed but action will be taken against those indulging in violence," a senior police officer told IANS.

Thanking the JD-S for support, Congress state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the shutdown would be complete as other parties, trade unions and many associations and organisations had agreed to join the protest.

"Besides pro-Kannada organisations, trade unions and associations of buses, taxis and autos, worst-affected by the fuel price hike, are supporting our call," Rao told reporters here.

The party has exempted essential services like milk and water supply, medical shops, hospitals, metro and small vendors from shutdown.

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