KARNATAKA

Kumaraswamy `threatens' to quit

S. Rajendran

Heated arguments over land grabbing Bill rock Cabinet meeting

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Cabinet, which met here on Thursday, reportedly witnessed a wordy duel between Ministers from the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill 2007.

The Janata Dal (S) has remained steadfast on its stand that the only way to check land grabbing is to introduce a legislation, while the BJP is believed to have raised objections to some of the contents in it. According to the estimation by the Joint Legislature Committee headed by A.T. Ramaswamy and surveys by the Revenue Department, 18,000 acres of land have been encroached upon in and around Bangalore alone.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that what brought the two coalition partners to get back to the discussion table and iron out their differences was the threat to resign held out by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Thereafter, the Principal Secretary to the Government (Revenue) was asked to make a detailed presentation on the advantages of the Bill apart from clarifying on the objections raised by the BJP Ministers. The Janata Dal (S), for over a year now, has been out to expose all those connected with land encroachment, and has been seeking the support of the BJP in this regard.

Te heated arguments reportedly centred on the remarks made by some Ministers. The Chief Minister is stated to have said that he is firm that the land grabbing abolition Bill should be placed before the legislature for a thorough discussion and passage and that there is no question of holding up the proposed legislation.

The Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill 2007 was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday by Minister for Home and Law and Parliamentary Affairs M.P. Prakash and the Bill is scheduled to come up for consideration on Tuesday.