Bangalore, Oct 19: The BJP, which had faced a plethora of problems due to charges of illegal mining and arrest of its leaders while in power, is now keen on embarrassing the ruling Congress by holding a rally seeking removal of Minister of State for Infrastructure Development Santosh Lad from the council of ministers.
The BJP will take out a rally from Freedom Park in Bangalore and lay siege to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s residence on October 23 to protest against the continuation of Lad in the ministry.
Addressing the presspersons here on Friday, senior BJP leader and MLA R Ashoka said the party has taken a firm stand that the Congress cannot show double standards and allow Lad to remain in the council of ministers. He said Lad has been continued in the ministry despite some documents indicating that he is involved in illegal mining. Even Anil Lad, the Congress MLA from Bellary City, has said that Santosh Lad is involved in illegal mining, Ashoka claimed.
He said double standards were being practised by the Congress. It had taken out a padayatra from Bangalore to Bellary to protest against illegal mining while it was in the Opposition. Now, it is shielding one of those accused in mining illegalities. “Perhaps, the chief minister is trying to protect himself and his government from further embarrassment. For, if Lad tells the ‘truth’ that the money from illegal mining was used to fund the Congress campaign to win the recent Assembly elections, there will be no place for the chief minister to hide his face,” he said.
He alleged that Lad, in the garb of exporting granite under the name of Sathya Granites had allegedly exported iron ore. The government was handpicking cases to be handed over to the CBI for investigations. It would be better if the government could hand over all the investigations to the CBI, as the agency’s work is now being monitored by the Supreme Court and not the Centre.
The former deputy chief minister criticised the Cabinet decision to allow stone quarrying within 100 meters of forest land. Ashoka claimed that a time when the Supreme Court has been trying to protect the depleting forest cover, the State government is trying to ruin the ecology in the State by allowing stone quarrying. He said that if the government gives these quarrying companies a foothold in the forests, they will penetrate and destroy the forests completely in the future. Ashoka said that the chief minister was giving in to the pressure from contractors and, asked the government to immediately withdraw the approval given to quarrying companies.