Joining the nation-wide ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ against demonetisation of high-value currency, ruling Congress in Karnataka held protests and rallies throughout the state against the Narendra Modi government’s action on Monday.
The protest affected the functioning of both the Houses of Karnataka Legislature, now in a 10-day winter session at Belagavi, as they did not sit on Monday in line with the decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC).
BAC had decided to suspend the sitting amid opposition by BJP, which walked out of the meeting on Friday.
An extra day of session would be held on December 3 to make up for the loss of business today.
Life in Bengaluru and elsewhere remained normal with commercial establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices working as usual and public transport and Metro maintaining their regular services.
Official reports said barring protests by Congress, the situation in the entire state, including the districts of Mysuru, Gadag, Haveri, Belagavi, Kalaburgi, Chamrajanagar, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada and Kolar, was normal.
In Bengaluru, Congress staged a demonstration in front of Town Hall near City Market at the nucleus of the city, where State Working President R Gundu Rao, a few legislators and local leaders took part.
At the protest, Congress workers raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and carried placards against demonetisation which they said has “hurt the common people”.
Hundreds of Congress workers led by Rao took out a procession to Mysore Bank Circle in the heart of the city, causing major traffic snarls.
Congress workers set afire tyres in Kalaburgi and Ballari and formed human chains in Ramanagara and Mandya.
Countering Congress, BJP workers observed “Sambhram Divas” (Celebration Day) to back demonetisation and distributed sweets and offered flowers to people in Mysuru, Belagavi, Chamarajnagar and Mandya and other places and raised slogans hailing Modi.
‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ did not strike chord as expected as the state has seen five days of bandhs, protests and strikes in the last four months, including one on Cauvery water issue with Tamil Nadu which was marked by large-scale violence.
Janata Dal (Secular) had made it clear it would not join the protests though, while endorsing the fight against black money, it was against the manner against which demonetisation was implemented as it was “an unrealistic decision which has been forced on the people.”
In Bengaluru, various associations representing cab operators, trucks and private bus transporters and autorikshaws did not support the protest.
Police had stepped security across the state, deploying armed and reserve forces to prevent any trouble.
In Bengaluru, some 15,000 policemen were on duty, apart from platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police and City Armed Reserve.