BANGALORE, October 1: Stepping up the demand for sacking Minister of State for Infrastructure Santosh Lad in the wake of allegations that his company was involved in illegal mining, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s legislators and MPs on Monday not only staged a dharna on the Vidhana Soudha premises, but also declared that the party would launch a Statewide campaign.
The protesting leaders warned Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that he himself may have to quit later if he does not sack Mr. Lad. They urged Mr. Siddaramaiah to walk the talk: act tough against illegal mining.
‘Look at documents’
They took serious exception to Mr. Siddaramaiah defending Mr. Lad and maintaining that there was no evidence to prove his involvement in illegal mining. “He is speaking like an ordinary person, who does not have access to documents. Let him verify the State Government’s own notification, which cancelled the licence issued to Mr. Lad’s firm for indulging in illegal mining,” the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said.
The former Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa said: “We have already given documents in support of the allegations against Mr. Lad to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to be passed on to the Chief Minister. If Mr. Siddaramaiah still claims that there is no proof, then either the Governor has not passed on the documents to him or the relationship between the two has soured.”
He said the party was ready to give the documents against Mr. Lad to the Chief Minister at whatever place and time he wanted it.
The former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda alleged that Mr. Siddaramaiah was using the excuse of lack of evidence to protect Mr. Lad. This view has exposed his claims of not including tainted personalities in the ministry and the Congress’ padayatra to Bellary against illegal mining, he said.
Taking exception to appointing MLA D.K. Shivakumar — who is facing various allegations — to the Congress co-ordination committee, Mr. Gowda demanded that Mr. Siddaramaiah ask the party high command to remove him from the panel.
We are ready to give the documents to CM at whatever place and time he wants: Eshwarappa