The Karnataka unit of the Congress has called for a bandh in the state on Wednesday to protest against the arrest of its leader DK Shivakumar in a money laundering case, The Indian Express reported. The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Shivakumar on Tuesday, claiming that he was not cooperating with the investigation.

“In order to condemn the arrest of DK Shivakumar and the misuse of the Enforcement Directorate by the government, the Karnataka Congress has called for a state-wide bandh on September 4,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Sathyan Puthoor said. On Tuesday, the Congress had called Shivakumar’s arrest an act of vendetta politics.

The investigating agency will produce the Kanakapura MLA before a court on Wednesday to seek his custody.

Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy lashed out at the central government late on Tuesday, ANI reported. “This is 100% politically motivated,” Reddy said. “Central government is misusing Income Tax Department, ED, Reserve Bank of India, Election Commission, everything. For five years they are doing this. They are killing democracy.”

Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, whose party, Janata Dal (Secular), was in the ruling alliance with the Congress until July, backed Shivakumar. “Within days of interrogation, without allowing even a day’s break for the [Ganesh Chaturthi] festival, ED now cites non-cooperation to arrest DK Shivakumar,” he tweeted. “The ruling government is using investigation agencies to oppress those opposition leaders who they think are a threat to their interests.”

Another former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah claimed the Centre was targeting Opposition leaders. “Opposition leaders are being targeted each and every day using the central government’s agencies,” he tweeted. “It is just an attempt to divert the attention from the structural failures of the BJP government and also to prevent the voices of dissent. He is also a victim of their vindictive politics.”

“He will definitely come out clean and the whole country will understand the ulterior motives of the BJP,” Siddaramaiah added. “We are all with him in this difficult time and shall provide him with full support.”

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, expressed unhappiness over Shivakumar’s arrest, NDTV reported. “Let me tell you one thing, the arrest of DK Shivakumar did not bring me any happiness,” Yediyurappa said. “I will pray to God that he will be out soon. I haven’t hated anyone in my life and haven’t mean to harm anyone. Justice will have to take its own course.”

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