KARNATAKA

Congress too should take blame: Kumaraswamy

Challenging Reddy: Janata Dal (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy addressing a press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Challenging Reddy: Janata Dal (S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy addressing a press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday. — Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.  

‘If BJP is father of illegal mining, Congress is the mother'

The Congress and BJP were equally responsible for the spread of illegal mining in the State, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said.

“If the BJP is the ‘father' of illegal mining, it is the Congress which is the mother,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said, while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday.

He was reacting to Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah's reported remark that the JD (S) had become “soft” towards the BJP in the struggle against illegal mining in the State.

“The Congress leaders themselves contend that the illegally mined ore is continuing to be transported through Andhra Pradesh despite the State Government's refusal to issue permits. But, can't they bring pressure on their Government in Andhra Pradesh to stop it?” Mr. Kumaraswamy asked.

The Janata Dal (S) leader said that he, as Chief Minister in the JD (S)-BJP coalition government, was the first to order an inquiry into illegal mining in Bellary, a move that made Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy accuse him of accepting a bribe of Rs. 150 crore. “I ordered an inquiry after the then Forests Minister C Chennigappa visited the area and came across rampant illegal mining in the region. It was the previous Congress government that was responsible for this,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said.

The petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the bribery charge was withdrawn after Mr. Reddy realised that it would be dismissed, Mr. Kumaraswamy said and dared the Tourism Minister to at least now go public with the “evidence” he had not been making public on the grounds that it would be “sub judice”.

Mr. Kumaraswamy said the Janata Dal (S) stand on illegal mining and its future course of action would be finalised after the matter was discussed in the Lok Sabha. The Speaker has assured their party leader and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda that a discussion would be allowed in the House on August 17.

RGUHS

The JD (S) would not withdraw its call for Ramanagaram bandh on August 14 and its plan to disrupt the official Independence Day celebrations if the Chief Minister did not announce by Thursday evening the date for the start of work on the RGUHS in Ramanagaram.

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