Congress leader DK Shivakumar on Tuesday appealed to his supporters to maintain peace and ensure that public property isn't harmed, ahead of a massive protest march planned by the Vokkaliga community on Wednesday against his arrest in a money laundering case.
"I wholeheartedly thank leaders, supporters, well-wishers and friends who have organised a massive protest in my support tomorrow in Bengaluru. I humbly request that the protest be peaceful and doesn't cause any inconvenience to citizens. Please ensure public property isn't harmed," a tweet from his official account read.
"I would like to reiterate that I have done nothing wrong and am a target of vendetta politics. With the support and blessings that I am receiving from all of you, and my belief in God and our judiciary, I have full faith that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically," he added.
Several political leaders, including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Mr Shivakumar himself, belong to Karnataka's dominant Vokkaliga community. Members of their party, the Janata Dal Secular, are likely to participate in the planned protest.
Organisers of the event expect thousands of people to join the march from the National College Grounds in Basavanagudi to the Raj Bhavan, where a memorandum will be presented to Governor Vajubhai Vala.
The arrest of the Congress troubleshooter in a money-laundering case on September 3 had sparked off protests across New Delhi and Karnataka, especially his home district of Ramanagara. Although they seem to have subsided now, the Congress continues to accuse the centre of using agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax department and the CBI to settle scores with political rivals.
"Today we met district Congress presidents, former mayors, block presidents... Tomorrow, there's a protest against DK Shivakumar's arrest. We have a lot of respect for the judiciary. But what is happening after the BJP government... the Income Tax Department, ED and other organisations, they are using as instruments against opposition parties," Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy told mediapersons in Bengaluru.
However, BS Yediyurappa - who heads the BJP government in Karnataka - has claimed that he derives no pleasure from the Congress leader's ill-fortune. "Let me tell you one thing, the arrest of DK Shivakumar does not bring me any happiness. I will pray to God that he comes out soon," he had said last week, adding that he hasn't "hated anybody" in his life.
Chief Minister Yediyurappa belongs to the Lingayat community, which is believed to have strong ties with the ruling BJP.