‘Want to defeat Siddaramaiah, Ramalinga Reddy’: Rakshaka Sena chief to TNM

Rakshaka Sena, the political wing of the Mahasangha had organised protests demanding better pay and work conditions for police personnel in 2016.
‘Want to defeat Siddaramaiah, Ramalinga Reddy’: Rakshaka Sena chief to TNM
‘Want to defeat Siddaramaiah, Ramalinga Reddy’: Rakshaka Sena chief to TNM

In mid-2016, a massive rebellion of sorts within the Karnataka police force had shaken the Congress government. Now, it seems that it has come back to haunt the party again with just two weeks to go for polls.

More so, with the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordering Bengaluru Commissioner and Karnataka DGP to allow Rakshaka Sena to campaign peacefully in police colonies

The party was barred from campaigning by the police, who cited “law and order” issues.

Rakshaka Sena is the political wing of the Mahasangha. The 2016 protest was coordinated by Akhila Karnataka Police Mahasangha demanding better pay and work conditions for the state police personnel.

The state government then was successful in stalling the strike by making promises of better pay, mandatory weekly offs.

Also, the Mahasangha chief Shashidhar Venugopal, a former constable and other top leaders of the organisation were put behind bars and charged with sedition.

The government had warned constables of invoking ESMA and families of the police personnel were warned of eviction from official quarters, on the other hand.

Speaking to TNM, Shashidhar said, although this time, they are not going to contest the elections, they will ensure the defeat of Congress stalwarts.

“We are formulating strategies to defeat CM Siddaramaiah, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, and other top leaders like former Home Minister and KPCC president G Parameshwara. We are very active and we have already distributed 1.5 lakh handbills in constituencies where the Congress heavyweights are contesting,” Venugopal said.

He added, “Obviously, Siddaramaiah and Home Ministers are our primary target. He and his coterie has ruined the sanctity of the police department. Interfering in police affairs, and other things and keeping retired officers like Kempaiah they have turned police stations into exploitation centres for political purposes.”

M Kempaiah, a 1981-batch IPS officer was appointed by CM Siddaramaiah as an adviser to the state Home Minister in 2014. Since then, he has kept the position despite the Home Ministry changing hands three time since then.    

Kempaiah had retired from service after he was chargesheeted by the Lokayukta in connection with a corruption case.

‘No connection with BJP’

However, Shashidhar denied any involvement with the BJP although his activity in Facebook activity suggests his support for the party.

“I am not particular about BJP, or the JD(S).  We want the police department to be reformed. Time and again, the Supreme Court has given guidelines but the state government did not pay heed to any of this,” he said, accusing senior IPS officers of having an “unholy nexus” with corrupt politicians.

Shashidhar claimed, “The entire state police force is with me. This time they created hindrance (cases against him). I am moving around across the state and I will organise my people. After policemen, I will try to take along farmers who are also exploited.”

“In days to come, Rakshaka Sena will be a force to reckon with. Serving police officers cannot enrol as members but if they want to join voluntarily, they are welcome,” he declared.

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