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Karnataka:Congress agree to postpone Mekedatu padayatra

In Karnataka, Congress on Thursday called off its widely-criticised Mekedatu padyatra or 10-day march in midway after five leaders tested positive. Earlier, the high court ordered an immediate ban on the opposition party's protest march which was taking place despite a massive surge in the state's daily Covid-19 cases. The court also asked the Karnataka Congress unit whether it had taken permission for the march and whether the party had complied with Covid rules. The decision was taken after party leaders participating in the march, including Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, held a meeting in Ramanagara to discuss the future course of the agitation.

"We have been successful in the last five days. We were supposed to end the padayatra in Bengaluru. Because of the third wave we have to postpone it for now," former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters. He justified continuing the campaign despite the Omicron-driven Covid surge, saying it had been planned nearly two months ago. Shivakumar said that the party "will not stop" the march, he said, "We will continue this yatra from the place where we ended. This is only temporary. We are respecting the high court order and people's well-being." Two senior leaders leading the march, Veerappa Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge, tested positive.

Meanwhile, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru's civic, cancelled permission for an event which was scheduled to take place in the state capital on January 19 to mark the end of the Mekedatu padayatra. On Wednesday, Karnataka logged 21,390 new cases of the viral illness, while 10 more patients succumbed due to it, a health department bulletin showed. There were 874 recoveries as well, as per the bulletin. With this, the cumulative infection tally stands at 3,099,519 including 38,389 deaths.

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