The Mangaluru Chalo, a bike rally being organised by the BJP to condemn the killings of Hindu leaders in Karnataka has set the ground for a bitter show down between the Saffron party and the ruling Congress party in the state. Ahead of the bike rally to be taken out from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Chikmagaluru, Hubballi on September 4 - that will culminate in Mangaluru on September 7 - the Mangaluru police commissioner TR Suresh has out rightly denied permission for the bike rally citing law and order issues. But undeterred by this, the BJP is hell bent on taking out the rally.
The rally which has become a prestige issue for the BJP Yuva Morcha led by MP Pratap Simha demands a ban on controversial organisations like Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), Popular Front of India (PFI), the resignation of Dakshina Kannada District In-charge Minister Ramanath Rai. The BJP leaders have been directly blaming the KFD and PFI organisations for the death of Hindu leaders - the recent being the murder of RSS leader Sharath Madiwala during the Bantwal clashes.
But accusing them of attempting to incite tension in the Dakshina Kannada district - as the rally will culminate in Mangaluru on September 7 - the State government has been wary of giving them permission. So far, the BJP has not been granted permission to take out the rally even from Bengaluru.
Apparently irked at the State government for restricting the rally, BJP State president BS Yeddyurappa said "We don't need anyone's permission to hold the rally. We will hold the rally which is our right." But Food and Civil Supplies Minister UT Khader said "Why is BJP taking out the rally when the people in the coastal district are living in peace. Isn't it their attempt to disturb the peace over there? They do have the right to protest but what was the need for such a protest now. "
In fact, the urgency in which the BJP is planning to hold the rally has come under severe criticism. For, the coastal district is breathing free after suffering curfew for over the one-and-half month during the Bantwal clashes. But the BJP's determination to take out the bike rally without seemingly bothered about its repercussion - considering how the coastal district is communally sensitive - certainly calls for some thought. But will the BJP look within?