The protest will be held on October 23
Sticking to its demand for sacking Minister Santosh Lad for the alleged involvement of his partnership firm in illegal mining, the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to lay siege to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s home office Krishna in Bangalore on October 23.
Announcing this at a press conference in Bangalore on Friday, the former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok said the BJP leaders would march from Freedom Park to Krishna on October 23 before laying siege to it.
He said the BJP was forced to do this as no action had been taken despite party leaders submitting documents related to the alleged involvement of the Minister’s firm in illegal mining to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, and its elected representatives staging a dharna on the Vidhana Soudha premises demanding his sacking.
Mr. Ashok took serious exception to Mr. Siddaramaiah defending Mr. Lad.
Accusing the Congress of depending on funding by the illegal mining lobby in the previous Assembly elections and also banking on the funds from them for the coming Lok Sabha elections, he alleged that it was for this reason that Mr. Siddaramaiah did not want to drop Mr. Lad from the ministry.
Pointing out that the Congress had undertaken a padayatra of its leaders to Bellary against illegal mining while I was in Oppositon, he accused the party of changing its stance after coming to power.
Mr. Ashok termed the Cabinet’s decision to hand over the probe on illegal mining to the CBI an “eye wash”. If the government was really committed to tackling illegal mining, it should have sought a CBI probe on the entire episode, including the affairs of 49 mining firms in ‘C’ category for large-scale violations, he said. He also took exception to the Cabinet decision permitting stone-crushing units located within a distance of 100 m from the forest boundary to resume operations.
This would result in dwindling of forest cover besides polluting the water and environment, he said. He feared that allowing stone-crushing units to operate near the KRS dam may pose a threat to its safety besides polluting the Cauvery.