KARNATAKA

Go on a `padayatra', Yediyurappa tells CM

HUBLI Oct. 31. B.S. Yediyurappa, BJP MLC, today suggested that the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, go on a "padayatra" in the areas affected by the violence during the farmers' agitation against the release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu.

Addressing presspersons here today, he said that by undertaking a "padayatra", Mr. Krishna could atone for the "sins" committed in handling the issue. He was of the view that Mr. Krishna should take the farmers in Mandya and Mysore districts into confidence and explain the change in the Government's stand on release of water.

On whether the Opposition would participate in the "padayatra" that he wanted the Chief Minister to undertake, Mr. Yediyurappa said it would not. "All those who had planned the previous padayatra should participate," he added.

He dismissed the Chief Minister's advice to MLAs from Mandya District to go to their constituencies and explain the Government's stand. He said it was ridiculous for Mr. Krishna, who was a legislator from Mandya, to ask others to visit the constituencies while he was unwilling to go.

Mr. Yediyurappa said Mr. Krishna had lost moral authority to continue as the Chief Minister. He did not rule out the possibility of the Congress High Command removing Mr. Krishna from the post.

On what would happen in the Supreme Court tomorrow, when the court was expected to pronounce its punishment for Mr. Krishna for contempt of court, Mr. Yediyurappa said he felt the court might reprimand him in the context of his unconditional apology and that of release of water to Tamil Nadu. "This is only what I desire will happen." No one in the State wanted the Chief Minister to be sent to jail, he added<149>.

`Sontaneous protest '

Mr. Yediyurappa described the agitation by farmers in Mandya and other districts as spontaneous, and not one started by a political party. If the farmers in Mandya took to streets, it would not be possible to stop them. Mr. Krishna should realise this. He added that BJP workers were taking part in the agitation.

He denied the allegation by the Congress that the Opposition was trying to politicise the agitation. The Opposition had always supported the Government in its efforts to safeguarding<149> the interests of the State, he said. That was despite the Government ignoring the suggestions given by the Opposition parties. One suggestion, which was given after the Supreme Court directed the release of 1.25 tmcft. of water, was that the Government should seek modification of the order. However, the Government did not do so. Grain utilisation

Mr. Yediyurappa alleged that the State Government had failed to utilise the free foodgrains given by the Centre for taking up drought relief work.

He said that only five of 45 days given to the State Government to utilise two lakh tonnes of foodgrains remained. Only about 28,000 tonnes of foodgrains had been utilised. Normally, if the foodgrains were not used within the stipulated time, the stock was withdrawn for distribution elsewhere, he added.

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