Protesters take up cudgels for Srinivas Prasad

Observe bandh in Nanjangud, Chamarajanagar, Gundlupet; tyres set fire on roads; IGP B K Singh rushes to Nanjangud to take stock of the situation

Traffic on the National Highways came to a complete standstill on Monday following a bandh call given by supporters and fans of former Mysuru District In-charge Minister V Srinivas Prasad. The bandh was observed to protest against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s move to drop Srinivas Prasad while reshuffling his cabinet.

Prasad, a strong leader from the Dalit community, was elected as an MLA from Nanjangud in the last assembly elections and has considerable support base in the entire belt of Nanjangud, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar and Gundlupet.

He was instrumental in the party winning 12 assembly seats in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar in the 2008 elections at a time when BJP wave was riding Karnataka. He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times from the Chamarajanagar constituency and even served as a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet.

While shops and business establishments downed their shutters in Chamarajanagar, Gundlupet, T Narasipur and Nanjangud since morning, National Highways leading from Mysuru to Chamarajanagar, Gundlupet, Nanjangud, Kollegala and Ooty Road were blocked by protesters who burnt tyres and effigies on roads.

Traffic and rural police had a tough time in convincing the protesters to take back their agitation. As the highways were blocked bus drivers had to hit their destinations through village roads.

In Nanjangud, protestors squatted on the main roads bringing traffic to a grinding halt. Karnataka Southern Range IGP B K Singh along with DySP Divya have rushed to Nanjangud to take control of the situation.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s posters and effigies were burnt at several places and agitators expressed anger against him for “shielding the corrupt and dropping the efficient ministers”. Protestors alleged that ministers whose sons were openly involved in illegal quarrying and sand mining were retained as they were close to Siddaramaiah.

Srinivas Prasad Abhimanigala Balaga president Ayyanapura Shivakumar had on Sunday announced that Chamarajanagar and Nanjangud would observe a bandh to register its protest against the Congress high command and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s move to drop Srinivas Prasad from the cabinet.

“Srinivas Prasad has initiated various developmental activities apart from streamlining his ministry. Some of the projects sanctioned by him included the Government PU College and Ambedkar Bhavan in Chamarajanagar. His career has no black spot and he is honest. The CM has meted out injustice to him and the Dalit community by dropping him from the cabinet. Our protest will continue till he is re-inducted,” he had said.

Protests had begun on Saturday as soon as the news broke that Srinivas Prasad would be dropped from the cabinet. Agitated supporters and fans of the minister protested on Saturday evening at Ashokapuram in the city and even burst tyres.

On Sunday, they blocked traffic on Mysuru-Bengaluru highway and the police were forced to divert traffic on the Outer Ring Road. Protests were also staged at Ramaswamy Circle and Field Marshal Cariappa Circle.

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