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20 Sep 2019, 11:40 HRS IST
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  • "Not invited" to protest rally: Kumaraswamy strikes a

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19:33 HRS IST

discordant note

Bengaluru, Sep 11(PTI)
Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday cited "no invitation" as the reason for his absence from the protest rally organised here by several Vokkaliga outfits against the arrest of senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar.

Thousands of people, mostly from the Vokkaliga community, thronged the state capital to express solidarity with Shivakumar, an influential senior Karnataka Congress leader and former Minister.

Kumaraswamy, who also hails from the community, was conspicuous by his absence at the protest that was largely seen as as a show of stregth of the community, dominant in old Mysuru or southern Karnataka region.

"We have asked our people to extend support (for the protest), our party (JDS) workers have also participated," Kumaraswamy said in response to a question about his absence.

Speaking to reporters in Channapatna, he, however, struck a discordant note.

"I had no invitation. I have already said this programme (at Channapatna) was pre-scheduled. They have conducted it (protest) in a hurry, without bringing to my notice. If I was informed I would also have participated," Kumaraswamy said.

Shivakumar was arrested on September 3 by the Enforcement Directorate in a case of alleged money laundering and has been in the custody of the agency since then.

Shivakumar was a key minister in the Congress-JDS coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy that collapsed after losing majority in July, paving the way for the installation of the BJP regime.

Stating that he had seen an advertisement stating that attempts were being made to fix Kumaraswamy also, the former Chief Minister said, no one can fix him, as he has not committed any such mistake.

"I want to tell the person who has given the advertisement also. They (BJP or central government) cannot fix me. I have not given any opportunity for such mistakes in my life," Kumaraswamy said.

The Vokkaliga community is considered to be the strong vote bank of Kumaraswamy's JDS in its bastion of old Mysuru region, where Congress is its arch-rival.

The BJP considers the other dominant community Lingayats as its strong support base.

Lingayats, the community to which Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa belongs to, are predominantly present in northern and central parts of the state.

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