Bengaluru: The state BJP went on the offensive on Thursday demanding the dismissal of ‘four corrupt’ ministers in the state and courting arrest. Its legislators and MPs headed by former Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa and state party president, Pralhad Joshi followed up a dharna before the Kengal Hanumanthaiah statue outside Vidhana Soudha, with a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala listing the charges against the ministers .
The three page memorandum urged the Governor to bring pressure on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to remove home minister, K.J. George, food and civil supplies minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Wakf minister, Qamarul Islam and cooperation minister Mahadevaprasad from his cabinet.
The BJP said the Defence ministry had issued notice to the home minister for encroaching on its land in Domalur and using it for commercial purposes by allowing the Embassy Golf Link Company that he was a partner in to come up on it . It also accused Mr George of failing to protect women and children in the state and taking no action against those involved in sexual assaults on school children. While it accused Mr Islam of encroaching on Wakf property in Bandepura in Gulbarga , it alleged that Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao had encroached on government land and Mr Mahadevprasad had illegally cornered government sites.
Claiming that the Siddaramaiah government had failed on all fronts since assuming office 18 months ago, the memorandum said it had done little to maintain law and order while sexual assaults on women and children were rising. Also, farmers were not getting adequate power or a suitable price for their products, it deplored.
Earlier , the party?s plans to stage a dharna before the Gandhi statue installed recently between Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha were foiled by the police on the instructions of the government as it did not have the required permission to do so from the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR). Shouting slogans against Mr Siddaramaiah , the angry BJP leaders shifted their dharna to the Kengal Hanumanthaiah statue.
BJP Karnataka in-charge, Murulidhar Rao, former Chief Minister, Jagadish Shettar, senior BJP leader, K.S. Eshwarappa, and MLAs, MLCs and MPs participated in the agitation.
Interestingly, former deputy Chief Minister, R. Ashok was conspicuous by his absence during the BJP dharna against the state government. He had also skipped the party’s Raitha Morcha wing protest in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Work or step down: Rao to bjp leaders
BJP Karnataka in-charge Muralidhar Rao took a dig at ineffective office-bearers of the state unit here on Thursday.
At the BJP legislature party meeting, Mr Rao expressed dissatisfaction that senior legislators Umesh Katti and others had not shown interest in party affairs. He instructed legislators to work hard or else step aside and allow others to work. Mr Katti has been involved in a campaign for statehood for north Karnataka which has earned him the ire of the state leadership
Mr Rao also wanted state leaders to continuously fight the Siddaramaiah government. “Karnataka is the only hope for the Congress, so we should end Congress rule in the state by resorting to a public agitation against the Siddaramaiah government. If necessary, I will undertake a district tour to encourage party workers”, sources quoted him as saying.
Wakf minister, Qamarul Islam
Has encroached on Wakf property in Bandepura, Gulbarga and converted it into sites. The minister has denied this.
Cooperation minister, Mahadevprasad
Got a government site by filing a false affidavit and the Lokayukta police has registered a case but he has denied the charge.
Food and civil supplies minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao
Had encroached on government land in Navarathna Agrahara, Jala Hobli, Yelahanaka taluk, but agreed to return it. However, the minister has denied the charges.
Home minister K.J. George
Is a partner in Embassy Golf Link Company that has occupied Defence land in Domalur. The Karnataka- Kerala Sub Area Command had issued notice to the minister. The minister has denied the charges made by the BJP.
No change in Cabinet, asserts CM Siddu
Standing firm alongside his colleagues, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said at a BWSSB function on Thursday that none of the four ministers against whom allegations of land grabbing have been made by the BJP, would be dropped from the Cabinet. “The police had registered FIRs against former deputy chief ministers R. Ashok and K.S. Eshwarappa, and former minister V. Somanna. Yet the BJP did not drop any of them from the Cabinet nor did it take action.
“Did they start thinking about morals after they became an Opposition party?” he snapped back. While home minister K.J. George had made it clear that the defence land in Domalur did not belong to him, another minister, Mahadevprasad has defended himself saying that due to lack of evidence, a ‘B’ report was submitted in his land case. The allegations against wakf minister Qamar Ul Islam have not been proved yet, the CM said. He also said that “Mr Rao has admitted that the land belonged to his forefathers and the government could take possession of it. “He has clearly stated that he doesn’t want the land. Under these circumstances, why should we drop them from the cabinet?”