Staff Correspondent

HASSAN: Minister for Science and Technology, Sericulture and Small Savings Ramachandra Gowda has described former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as "Gomukha Vyaghra" (a lion behind the mask of a cow) and added that he would be defeated in the election. To defeat him, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will field a consensus candidate. The BJP will campaign for the Janata Dal (S) candidate to ensure that Mr. Siddaramaiah is defeated, he added.

Mr. Gowda who was on his way to Chikmagalur made a brief halt in Hassan on Thursday and addressed presspersons at the government guesthouse. He said Karnataka produced 7,000 tonnes of silk yarn but the demand was more. To encourage farmers to take up sericulture, the Government had decided to give a cash incentive of Rs. 5,000 an acre to grow mulberry. If farmers construct silkworm-rearing houses, then the Government would give them a subsidy of Rs. 50,000.

The Minister said there were 1.5 lakh agents engaged in collecting small savings and they would be given a commission of 1.5 per cent.

On the abolition of lotteries, the Minister said the case was before the Supreme Court. The State had requested the Centre to ban lotteries, he added.