In a snub to his three ministerial colleagues and mining magnates, Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa on Friday disapproved of their holding a padayatra to counter a similar ongoing protest by Congress on illegal mining issue.
Health Minister B. Sreeramulu, Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy on Thursday launched a 12-km padayatra from Tekkalkote to Siruguppa in mine-rich Bellary District.
“Personally I am opposed to it. Had they sought my advice or that of the State unit party president, we would have counselled them against such rallies. Being part of the government it is not advisable to venture into such rallies or protests,” Mr. Yeddyurappa told reporters here.
He, however, added: “The ministers must have been prompted to organise rallies as they have come under intense allegations from the opposition.”
Congress’ Bellary Chalo padayatra led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah entered the sixth day today with Mr. Yeddurappa ordering videography of their protest.
The videography was ordered as statements by Congress leaders that there could be some law and order problem during their padayatra made him suspect of a “conspiracy”, he said.
“The government has already provided security cover to the padayatra. But still, the Congress leaders have repeatedly been expressing doubts that their stir may encounter problems from the ruling side. I suspect they (Congress) are hatching a conspiracy to create law and order problems and put the blame on the government,” he said.
The three ministers, who embarked upon their own stir ignoring pleas by the party against it, addressed roadside meetings during which they hit out at the Congress.
“The Congress is seeking to build its party from the funds raised from mining lobby,” Mr. Janardhana Reddy alleged at a meeting in Bellary District.
Mr. Sreeramulu and Mr. Karunakara Reddy also addressed the roadside meetings.
Mr. Yedyurappa also held consultations with BJP State unit president K. S. Eswarappa on some issues, including the rally being undertaken by three of his ministerial colleagues.
Besides Mr. Eswrappa, State Minister for Law S. Suresh Kumar also attended the meeting to overlook the arrangements made for the party’s upcoming four public rallies to expose the Congress’ agenda against the government.
To counter the Congress padayatra, the BJP is holding rallies at Davangere on August 2, Gulbarga on August 5, Mysore on August 12 and at Bellary on August 20.