KARNATAKA

Withdraw order on merger of departments: Deve Gowda

Firm demand: JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Firm demand: JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Special Correspondent

The JD(S) leader accuses BJP of trying to implement its hidden agenda

BANGALORE: The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda on Tuesday said the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party Government to merge the Backward Classes Department, the Devaraj Urs Corporation and the Ambedkar Development Corporation with the Social Welfare Department was an indication of the “anti-backward classes and anti-Ambedkar” stand of the BJP.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Deve Gowda demanded that the Government immediately withdraw the order issued on November 21 merging various departments coming under the Social Welfare Department.

These departments were separated in 1977 to ensure that a focussed effort was made for the welfare of the backward classes, the minorities and Dalits in the State. That became all the more necessary from 1995 onwards when the new reservation formula introduced by him provided 32 per cent reservation for the backward classes and the minorities out of the total reservation ceiling of 50 per cent, he said.

These departments would lose their focus if they were merged. This would hinder the delivery of social justice to deprived sections of society. The merger might even trigger a conflict between the different communities coming under these departments. Besides, it was also an effort by the BJP to ensure that the names of the backward classes leader and former Chief Minister Devaraj Urs as well as that of Ambedkar faded from public memory, Mr. Gowda alleged.

Charging the BJP with being anti-Ahinda (Kannada acronym for the minorities, backward classes and Dalits), he said the Ahinda communities should understand the policy of the BJP, which was silently trying to implement its hidden agenda. He asked them to bring pressure on the BJP Government to withdraw the merger order.

Without naming anyone, he said, “Even if those leaders who are known as Ahinda’s patrons embrace the BJP ideology for their personal causes, Ahinda members should not blindly follow them.” He termed this as his advice to the Ahinda communities.

‘An opportunity’

Mr. Deve Gowda said he would be very happy if Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa filed a defamation suit against him for his statements regarding the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project. “That will provide an opportunity to bring more issues regarding the BMIC to light.”

He wondered how Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises, which is promoting the BMIC, could start collecting toll from road users even before the first phase of work was completed. According to the framework agreement, the company should have built a concrete road. Besides, the agreement prescribed various measures such as development of townships to ensure that NICE got an 18 per cent rate of return. But the housing project in the townships was yet to start. Before meeting these conditions, NICE had started collecting toll even as the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court were hearing various petitions relating to the project, he said.

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