None of the political parties is talking of action against those implicated

It was not long ago that the biggest discussion in Karnataka was around the multi-crore mining scam that implicated politicians in power in a big way and even brought down the then Bharatiya Janata Party Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The issue, however, grew muted as elections neared and has entirely died out now with polling just a day away, which is not surprising considering that many implicated in the scam are contesting the elections.

None of the political parties is talking of action against those responsible for illegal mining.

JD(S) promise

The former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy told The Hindu that corruption was not an issue for the Janata Dal (S) in the elections. Though its manifesto promised to address corruption in governance, there is no mention about mining scam except a promise to ban “environmentally hazardous mining.”

Chairperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto draft committee D.B. Chandre Gowda defended the party skirting the mining issue entirely in its manifesto. “Since the issue is seized by the court, we didn’t want to tackle it in the manifesto,” he said.

Though there is no mention of the issue in the manifesto, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah claimed that his party was committed to implementing the report of the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde pending before the government from the past two years, if the party came to power.

Regretting mining becoming a non-issue in this elections, Vishnu Kamath of the Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya (SPS), a Dharwad-based NGO which took up the issue in the Supreme Court, said that as leaders of every political party were involved either directly or indirectly in the illegal mining scam, nobody wants to raise the issue which would affect their political future.

According to Mr. Hegde, political parties do not want to make the mining scam an issue in the elections because mine lessees, politicians and bureaucrats are involved in it. “The Lokayukta report indicted all of them. Why will they make it an issue when it is detrimental to their interests?” he said.

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