Congress continues its onslaught against BJP on mining issue

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday asserted that the party legislature party in Karnataka would meet in Bangalore on August 3 to elect a successor to the outgoing Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, but was non-committal on the demand of Mr. Yeddyurappa to see D.V. Sadananda Gowda in his place.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, who returned on Sunday from Bangalore after persuading Mr. Yeddyurappa to step down, told journalists here that he, along with the former party President, Rajnath Singh, had completed ‘consultations' with the party legislators on choosing a new Chief Minister.

That the party has deferred the decision on election of new Legislature Party leader till August 3 and Mr. Jaitley chose not to elaborate on the completion of consultations are signs that there are divisions within the party on a successor to Mr. Yeddyurappa.

‘Considered decision’

To a question on the statement made by the outgoing Chief Minister that he had proposed the name of Mr. Sadananda Gowda, Mr. Jaitley said that everyone in the party was entitled to express their views.

“There is a democratic [way] of choosing a new leader. It can be through consensus or election,” he maintained.

Asked about the direction of the party high command to Mr. Yeddyurappa to resign from his post, Mr. Jaitley said it was a very ‘considered decision' after taking into consideration all the factors in the wake of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining in the State.

The Congress continued with its onslaught against the BJP on the Yeddyurappa issue.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari wanted to know how the BJP intended to get back the black money generated by illegal mining in Karnataka parked in tax havens abroad.

“The former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde's report says that the ill-gotten gains of illegal mining in the State have been parked in tax havens abroad,” Mr. Tewari said and asked: “What will the BJP do to get this black money back?”

Poser to Hegde

The Congress spokesperson also wanted to know why Mr. Hegde had not exercised Section 14 of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act to launch prosecution against Mr. Yeddyurappa. “I don't mean to criticise Mr. Hegde,” Mr. Tewari said, “but I want to know why he did not exercise the powers he was vested with.”

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