Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar has dismissed the pandemic as a ‘fabrication by BJP’. He made this statement while deciding to go ahead with the Congress’ padyatra starting today to press for early implementation of the Mekedatu reservoir project.
Karnataka has seen a ten-fold rise in Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the new year. The state had ~ 8500 cases and the entire nation had ~ 1,42,000 cases on January 7, a clear indication that we are in the early phase of the third wave fueled by the Omicron variant that is sweeping across the world.
To counter this wave, the Karnataka government has put a weekend curfew in place. But DK Shivakumar is all set to defy that. He said there is no Covid in the country and it’s all created by the BJP, in an interview to Times of India. Some excerpts from the interview follow –
Q.) You plan to embark on a 10-day padayatra, defying the weekend curfew. Shouldn’t you prioritise public health over politics?
DK Shivakumar: Where is Covid? There is no Covid. The government has been manipulating the numbers (Covid cases) to create a scare among the public and scuttle our padayatra….
Q.) India has reported over1. 1 lakh new cases of Covid-19 and 406 deaths as on January 6. How do you say it’s manipulation?
DK Shivakumar: I’ve been asking for the list of Covid patients and those who died, but the government hasn’t given it. I don’t trust these numbers it reels out every day. We conducted a reality check in several districts and our numbers didn’t match the government’s numbers. Some deaths were either fake or for a different reason. Through sources, we found there is not a single Covid case in ICUS of any hospital in Bengaluru and surrounding areas.
Q.) Your party at the national level has cancelled all public meetings and rallies in five poll-bound states, including Uttar Pradesh following the Covid surge. Aren’t you defying your party’s diktat?
DK Shivakumar: They were all political events and therefore cancelled. But the Mekedatu padayatra is apolitical and it’s for drinking water. That’s the reason we appealed to people from all walks of life to join our protest.
DK Shivakumar is one of the most powerful leaders in Karnataka Congress, and a major source of financing for the party. His declared wealth multiplied a whopping 11 times from 75 crore in 2008 to 840 crore by 2018. IT raids in 2017 had unearthed over Rs 300 crore of undisclosed income from the senior leader and associates.
Incidentally, Shivakumar was inducted into the Karnataka cabinet in Jan 2014, just 6 months after Siddaramaiah himself had described him and another MLA as tainted and had kept them out of his cabinet after winning the May 2013 assembly election. Shivakumar was facing illegal mining and land scam related charges when he was inducted into the cabinet. According to media reports, the Congress high command had forced Siddaramaiah to accommodate Shivakumar.
Shivakumar was also linked to the mysterious death of popular IAS officer DK Ravi in 2015. Although investigators concluded that the officer had committed ‘suicide’, the deceased’s family alleged political pressure as reason for the upright officer’s death. In 2016, DK Shivkumar got angry and stopped a performance of school children in Mandya who portrayed deceased IAS officer DK Ravi and Deputy Superintendents of Police MK Ganapathi and Kallappa Handibag as martyrs in a dance routine during Independence Day celebrations.
In 2019, Shivakumar acquired 10 acres of Government land, from his personal funds, at Kapalibetta near Harobele village in Kanakpura taluk of Ramanagara district for constructing the world’s largest Jesus statue.
Such flippant attitudes towards Covid-19 have been a hallmark of ‘secular’ politicians and sections of left-liberal commentariat. Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav had dismissed Covaxin and Covishield vaccines as ‘BJP vaccine’ while declaring that he would not take them. Following his cue, another SP leader Ashutosh Sinha claimed that ‘COVID-19 vaccine can make people impotent’, an oft-repeated Islamist conspiracy theory.
Senior Lutyen’s lawyer and andolanjeevi Prashant Bhushan has been a serial liar when it comes to Covid-19 and vaccines. In Jan 2021, he was claiming that the threat from Covid-19 was over and was continuously ranting against the government for ‘wasting money’ on the vaccination drive.
And while DK Shivakumar is dismissing the pandemic that has ravaged the whole world as a ‘BJP creation’, his boss Rahul Gandhi continues to take cheap, uninformed jibes on the central government over handling of the pandemic.