The political battle in Karnataka once again extended to Delhi on Saturday with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and the Opposition Congress delegation led by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president R.V. Deshpande meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram separately and discussing the mining issue vis-à-vis the Bellary Ministers.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, after the meeting, made it clear to The Hindu that there was no question of succumbing to the pressure by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine either by ordering a CBI probe or dropping the Reddy brothers — Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy and Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy — from the Cabinet. The Lokayukta had been given enough powers and it was capable of handling the investigation.
Taking a dig at the Opposition parties, Mr. Yeddyurappa said they wanted the Legislature session to be held for at least 60 days in a year. Now, they stalled the proceedings with their protests.
Core committee meet
The BJP State unit's core committee met here in the presence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari and discussed the mining issue and organisational matters. Among others party seniors Murli Manohar Joshi and H.N. Ananth Kumar, Mr. Yeddyurappa and BJP State unit president K. Eswarappa participated.
Earlier, Mr. Yeddyurappa told presspersons that “there is no proof of the charges against any of the ministers (Reddy brothers) and action will be taken if substantial proof is available...Tomorrow if I get any substantial proof, I am ready to take action. I am not bothered about anybody.”
All the mining cases since 2002 would be referred to Lokayukta which would bring out the truth. He discussed the issue of illegal mining, impact of excessive mining and the need for a ban on export of iron ore with Dr. Singh and Mr. Chidambaram. He requested the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of mineral rich States.
Congress presses on
The Congress delegation met All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and pressed the need for handing over the case to the CBI and taking action against the BJP Government. The party leaders demanded Mr. Yeddyurappa's resignation.
“People are looking to what the Centre is doing on the matter. It's a big issue and the CBI should probe to unearth the illegal mining network in Karnataka,” Mr. Deshpande said.
The delegation, which met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, included AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Ghulam Nabi Azad, CLP leader M. Siddaramaiah and Union Ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, K.H. Muniyappa and AICC general secretary B.K. Hariprasad.