Sees a severe form of ‘political terrorism’ in Bellary district
Government urged to withdraw cases against agitating farmers
‘Congress not against development, but opposes coercive governance’
BELLARY: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly M. Mallikarjun Kharge has expressed concern over the “vindictive politics” of the Bharatiya Janata Party Government in Bellary district.
Speaking to presspersons on his arrival here on Friday, Mr. Kharge said that a severe form of ‘political terrorism’ was prevalent in Bellary as was evident with the booking of several cases against innocent people.
Citing instances, he said cases were booked against some Dalit leaders who were in no way connected with the double murder that occurred recently in Bellary city, against farmers who were lathi-charged for protesting against land acquisition for the new airport here and against those opposing attempts to change the inter-State border. “In a democratic set-up, raising the voice of protest is the people’s right. Instead of convincing farmers to part with their land for development, the Government is misusing power to book cases against whistleblowers. This is unfair and will not go down well with the people. Leaders in the Government should realise that such arrogance will not take them far,” he said.
Mr. Kharge urged the Government and the district administration to withdraw cases against the farmers. He also hoped the Corps of Detectives (COD), which has been asked to inquire into the group clash leading to the double murder, would conduct an impartial inquiry and bring the guilty to book.
Making it clear that the Congress was never against development, he reiterated that it would not tolerate “coercive governance”.
Referring to the Chief Minister’s declaration that the Government would continue with its airport plans, Mr. Kharge felt it could do so only if farmers sold their land voluntarily.
He also wanted to remind the Chief Minister that the Congress had also contributed to the State’s development. The BJP had come to power only now.
“Any government keen on development will lay more emphasis on projects that help improve infrastructure. It should invest in core sectors that will lead to generation of funds. But the BJP Government is trying to snatch fertile land from farmers and is busy making allocations to religious institutions instead.”
‘Up to high command’
Mr. Kharge said that he would abide by the decision of the Congress high command with regard to contesting the Lok Sabha elections.
He said the high command wanted to field him in the Lok Sabha elections, but he wished to remain in State politics. “They have asked me to think things over. I have told them what I feel. Let us see what decision they take. Ultimately, what the high command says will be followed,” he said. With regard to reports that Siddaramaiah would replace him as Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Kharge said the high command would decide on the matter.
Mr. Kharge was accompanied by Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and K.C. Kondaiah.