T.V. Sivanandan

Denies that three Congress MLAs will join the BJP

Terms ‘Operation Kamala’ murder of democracy

GULBARGA: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly M. Mallikarjun Kharge has demanded that the State Government take back land given to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) in excess of what was agreed upon in the Framework Agreement.

Responding to a report that appeared in The Hindu on Tuesday exposing the acquisition of nearly 7,000 acres of excess land by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) for the controversial project, Mr. Kharge said the extent of land transferred to the company should not exceed what had been agreed upon.

Mr. Kharge said the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project taken up by NICE had been hanging fire for more than 15 years. It was time that the company executed the project as outlined in the agreement between the Government and NICE. The Government should take measures to end all speculation and allegations that excess land was being transferred to the company.

He said the excess land acquired by the KIADB should be used for other industrial purposes.

On rumours that at least three Congress MLAs — V. Somanna, Baburao Chinchansur and Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli — would be joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr. Kharge said as far he knew the three legislators would not desert the Congress. “I have individually spoken to all three legislators and they have denied that they are planning to join the BJP. They said their meeting with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was in connection with development activities in their respective constituencies.”

He termed “Operation Kamala” launched by the BJP to lure MLAs from other political parties “murder of democracy” and said it violated the anti-defection law.

“The people of the State did not give a clear mandate to the BJP, and they should have bowed to the wishes of the people. However, offering inducements in the form of money and position has set a new trend in State politics.”

He accused the Chief Minister of indulging in corrupt practices to lure MLAs from other political parties to cling on to power. He ridiculed the statement of BJP leaders that MLAs from other political parties were flocking to the BJP because they accepted the policies and philosophy of the party. “Then why were the defectors made Ministers immediately after they joined the party? Without the inducement of ministerial positions, nobody will join the BJP,” he said.

Welcomed

He welcomed the Government’s decision to declare 84 taluks drought-hit. The Government should now release at least Rs. 50 lakh each for relief measures, he said.

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