K`taka Cong completes historic padayatra Monday
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 08, 2010, 17:19
Bangalore: The 320-km 'padayatra' by Congress in Karnataka, launched as an anti-corruption blitzkrieg against the BJP government with the spotlight on illegal mining, will culminate at the mining hub of Bellary tomorrow.

Marking the end of the 16-day-long walk, state Congress heavyweights will address a rally in Bellary, home district of three ministers and mining magnates -- K Janardhana Reddy, his brother Karunakara Reddy and their associate R Sreeramulu.

The 'padayatra', seen as a comeback vehicle for Congress, hit by low morale after a string of electoral defeats since 2004, was kicked off amid much fanfare in Bangalore on July 25.

Congress leaders embarked on the walkathon after accepting the challenge by the three ministers in the state Assembly on July 9 when they dared them to step onto their home turf, where, the Opposition alleges, only the writ of the Reddy brothers runs large.

The BJP, running its first ever government in the South, was initially dismissive of the 'padayatra', calling it a "political gimmick", but changed tack taking into account the public response to it, making counter moves.

The Congress offensive drew a peculiar response from Sreeramulu, who tonsured his head and went on a counter 'padayatra', sporting black robes in Bellary district.

Sreeramulu said he has chosen to ward off the evil eye of Congress on Bellary, but his show, fully supported by the Reddy brothers, invited the ire of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who openly disapproved of it, saying being in the government, they should not have done it.

The 'padayatra' drew angry reactions from the Reddy brothers, who said they would hang themselves if Congress could produce any evidence to substantiate their charge that they were involved in illegal mining.


First Published: Sunday, August 08, 2010, 17:19

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