B S Yeddyurappa: Is it the end of the road?

BS Yeddyurappa. Photo courtsey: DNA
BS Yeddyurappa. Photo courtsey: DNA

B S Yeddyurappa and his supporters would still consider the decision to step down as the Chief Minister as the biggest mistake he made in his political career. He was pressurized by the party leadership in New Delhi to step down.

Yeddyurappa had said in a media interaction that he ought not to have stepped down at that time. The Lokayukta report, accusing him of corruption was not a final judgment and moreover he enjoyed the support of nearly 75 per cent of the BJP MLAs.Read more

FIR against Krishna and co.

In a set back to Union External affairs minister, S M Krishna, the Lokayukta police have filed an FIR against him in connection with the illegal mining case.
The FIR which is also filed against former CHief Ministers Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy reads thus:
As per the orders of Addl. City Civil and Sessions Court in P.C.R.27/2011, on 08/12/2011 a case has been registered in Crime No. 63/2011 in Bangalore City Lokayukta Police Station under Sees. 13(l)(d)(e) of Prevention of Corruption Act -I5S4, Forests (Conservation) Act – 1980, u/s 104 and 104 (c) of Karnataka Forest Act,Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act – 1957 and u/s 204, 405, 406,463, 465, 468, 471 r/w sec. 423 and 120(b) of Indian Penal Code against S.M.Krishna ,N.Dharam Singh, H.D.Kumaraswamy and others.
A private complaint had been filed alleging that Krishna, Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy had shown favour as a result of which illegal mining prevailed during their tenures as Chief Ministers.

In addition to the three former Chief Ministers, FIRs were also filed against 11 bureucrats.
J Abraham, had filed a complaint in the court of Lokayukta judge N K Sudhindra Rao. The court had two weeks vack directed the police to probe the matter and submit a report by January 6.
the Lokayukta police say that they would start probing into the matter on the basis of this complaint. In order to commence the probe, they first needed to file a first information report. A report of the investigation would be submitted to the court on January 6th as per the order of the court.

Bellary win-is it defeat for Justice Hegde

Bellary has been retained by Sriramulu, one of the closest aides of the Reddy brothers who are all part of the illegal mining scam. The big question that is being asked is whether the likes of Anna Hazare and Justice Santhosh Hegde who have been raising their voice against corruption been silenced?
Sriramulu has been in the news for his role in the illegal mining case. It is Justice Hegde’s report on illegal mining which had Sriramulu’s name as one of the accused in the case. Today does the victory of Sriramulu mean the defeat of Justice Hegde’s movement against corruption?
Justice Hegde does not think so. He has won alright. Is he the only corrupt one over there? Do you mean to say the others have not spent money?
How can you say the movement against corruption has been defeated? Such things happen. It takes a while. The objective should not be defeated. If some have taken money and voted then they should answer their conscience.
Speaking of the Bellary election today each of the parties has been corrupt. Each one has had a role to play in the illegal mining case and hence there is very little choice.
You can make light of the movement against corruption. Although I agree when you would say that the issue of electoral reforms ought to have been taken up by us first before the issue of corruption. There is a need to change electoral laws first if we want to see some impact in the system.
However I would want to take this issue up. I would want a performance audit of all MP’s and MLA’s. Such things should be made public and the voter must have the power to recall his vote. This would keep these leaders on tenter hooks. Let this be put in and the next election would have a better result.
The question of fielding tainted candidates is another issue. Once a charge is framed by a court then the candidate should be denied a ticket. When the charge is framed it would mean that the court has applied its mind. However merely being an accused does not mean he should be denied a ticket. Even naming someone in a Lokayukta report is not a criteria to deny a ticket. A Lokayukta report is not a conviction, it is just first information.

Advani rally at Blore


If we need to fight corruption we need to be clean ourselves. This is what L K Advani had to say at the rally at Bangalore on Sunday.
Advani who addressed a rally amidst a heavy downpour did not take names of any tainted BJP minister in Karnataka while addressing the issue of corruption. He however said that his stand remains the same. I had said in April last corruption will be fought but I would not tolerate it in my own party. We have been strict where corruption is concerned. We acted immediately when the Lokayukta report on illegal mining was out.
That was the extent that Advani addressed the corruption issue in Karnataka. He stuck largely to the corruption in the UPA government.
I had a lot of respect for Dr Manmohan Singh when he was an official. However today I don’t respect him as he runs the most corrupt government ever.
This government has been responsible for the biggest scams the nation has seen. The 2G scam has been the biggest. Then there is CWG and Adarsh and for each of these scams, the UPA has been responsible.
While these are the major issues what I was most pained by is the nuclear deal. We entered into a deal with a country which looked down upon us. Despite the CPI(M) pulling out of the government they still went ahead with the deal.
Infact to save their government they flaunted corruption to such an extent that it led to the cash for votes scam. However our party led by example and despite three of my MP’s being approached they refused to sell out.
I would also like to point the black money issue here. When the NDA was in power we did ask the Swiss Bank very many times for details. Hoever we never got them. Today the rules are different. I don’t see why the UPA cannot bring that money back. But despite me writing to the PM thrice he has not acted on it
I am pained by this and hence decided to set out on a yatra. This yatra is aimed at waking the people up against corruption. I wish the people of India realise the gravity of the situstion.
The stage on which Advani addressed the crowd was something that every journalist watched. It was. Clear message that none of the tainted ministers were allowed on stage. R Ashok home minister and also Bangalore in chare minister wss absebt. He has an FIR against him in connection with a land denotification case. The others present on stage were Chief Minister D Sadananda Gowda, state party president K Eshwarappa, Ananth Kunar among others.

Cabinet accepts B Sriramulu’s resignation

The Karnataka state cabinet has accepted the resignation of B Sriramulu who had resigned a month back. Sriramulu had cited the appearence of his name in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining while tendering his resignation as the member of the Legislative Assembly.
He had embarked upon a state tour stating he would seek justice from the people. However the grapevine was that he had put in his papers in a bid to pressurise the BJP which had left him out of the Cabinet following the mining report. There was also talk that he had acted at the behest of the BJP brothers who had mooted the idea of floating a regional party. However these plans were shelved as Janardhan Reddy was picked up the CBI exactly a day after the resignation drama by Sriramulu.

SC allows iron ore mining in Bellary by NDMC ‎

The Supreme Court in an interim order while keeping in mind the demand for iron ore has permitted the state run NMDC to operate two mines in Bellary district.
The NMDC which has been granted leases by the state and also which finds a mention in the Lokayukta report pertaining to lease violations was today permitted by the Suprme Court to extend the production of iron ore to the tune of one million tonnes per month from tomorrow onwards.
The Special forest Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia while passing this interim order however maintained that this order does not apply to private owners and the ban on mining in respect to them shall continue.
The interim order also states that while mining would be permitted for the NMDC, no part of the ore shall be exported. Further the Bench also directed the Karnataka government to levy royalty of 10 percent of the value of the iron ore.
The Supreme Court also directed a macro level environment impact assessment  be undertaken by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and directed that the report be submitted in three months. In addition to this it also sought details about the rehabiltation package for Bellary in three months.

CBI probe- the Supreme court also adjourned hearing on an interlocutary application seeking a CBI or SIT probe into illegal mining in Karnataka. Senior Counsel Prashanth Bhushan said that the application while seeking a CBI or SIT probe also takes note of the latest Lokayukta report. The matter is expected to be heard next week.

Sadanand Gowda and the road ahead

It was the name that was playing out in the media since B S Yeddyurappa was asked to put in his papers following the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. Sadananda Gowda who is seen as Yeddyurappa’s candidate was chosen to be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.

He comes in at a time when the state is reeling under a crisis. Political observers say that he has a tough job ahead and most important of them all would be to keep the party intact in the wake of this clear split that was witnessed since the past few days.

The two time legislator and two time member of parliament will have to first emerge out of Yeddyurappa’s shadow and work for the state. He will constantly analysed and he will have to negate all talks that he is holding the chair only until Yeddyurappa is able to make a come back. While these are internal matters for Gowda, the biggest issue is that he will have to deal with the pressure on acting on the Lokayukta report and that probably is the biggest job ahead for him.

Within the BJP, he has a mixed image. His camp says he is humble, approachable and is capable of doing good work. However his rivals call him a rubber stamp with no experience and even go up to the extent of saying that he is incapable of working for more than six hours a day.

Born to DV Gowda and Kamala at Devaragunda in Dakshina Kannada district, he is a science and law graduate. He is married to Dotty Sadananda who hails from Coorg and has one son.

While there are more negatives that emerge people say that he should be given a chance to prove himself. Many even question his capabilities as an advocate but also go on to add that his primary interest has always been politics. He is not hot headed like Yeddyurappa and is capable of keeping his party colleagues in good spirits and also the flock together. The BJP says that they need someone for now who will not antagonise the rest of the flock since the primary goal at the moment is to ensure that the party remains united. However Gowda who is an ardent lover of folk music, badminton, tennis and Kho Kho apart from the famous Yakshagana will have to rise from the image of a rubber stamp Chief Minister and work independently alongside a possible deputy who most likely will be Jagadish Shettar.

Today Gowda in a brief media interaction said that he wants to work hard for the public and will carry on the good work done by his predecessor. Gowda however says that he is aware that the road ahead is tough, but also adds that he has the support of his entire party who will help him perform.

Yeddi at lord’s feet

Ahead of the crucial Lokayukta report on illegal mining, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has sought the intervention of the Gods. He left this evening to Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh where he would seek the blessings of the Lord ahead of the report.
The Lokayukts report which will be made public at around 11 am tomorrow contains the name of the Chief Minister. In case there are remarks made against the CM are nasty in nature then he may have to sacrifice his seat. The CM has left for Tirupathi to pray for his survival and also that of his government sources say.

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Yeddi says no to go

Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa made it clear yet again that he would not step down. Briefing media persons in Bangalore he said he has written to the Prime Minister asking him to constitute a committee to look into the issue of phone tapping. He said that the committee would be headed by s M Krishna.
Further I have also written to Nithin Gadkari seeking constitution of an internal committee to eaxmine all corruption charges against my family and me.
On the Lokayukta report he said appropritae action would be taken once it is out. Although he did not specify what the action would be he said let the report come out and then I will answer all this. The question of stepping down does not arise now. The Lokayukta report is not the final word on the issue. Similar issues are before the court and let it take a decision on the matter.

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Report on mining and the meaning for Bellary

When one says mining, the mind goes to Bellary. Ahead of this much hyped up report on illegal mining the scene is Bellary is not one bit different. The people of Bellary say that their problems are not going to be solved with one report, what they need is a political change.

Kumar a resident of the area says that there is not much activity in Bellary ahead of this report. For some mining has become a way of life. Prior to 1999 before the mining boom a lot was dependant on agriculture. Most of these people worked hard for a living, but after the mining boom many found a way to make easy money. Every third person has encroached upon some forest land and is mining in his own way in Bellary. This has ensured that they make a quick buck and it would be hard for them to go back to agriculture and work hard, he points out.

The real problem that Bellary faces is child labour and poverty. Bellary continues to be a case of Rich Land and Poor people. A report by theKarnataka Human Development Report of 2005 ranked Bellary the lowest when it came to literacy, health and also drinking water. Although Bellary ranks 9th in terms of higher income it does not mean that this money is reaching the poor since the wealth is never distributed according to this report.The downtrodden in this town are in a dilemma today. On one hand they want the mess to be cleared up and on the other even if it is they wonder what they will do. The last thing they want happening is them losing their employment.

Kumar says that they would expect the government to rehabilitate them and give them employment. There is a national awareness regarding mining and the manner in which the Supreme Court is monitoring this issue, it appears that there will be action sooner or later. The committee set up the Supreme Court has been surveying the area to find out the extent of encroachment into forest lands to mine illegally. The situation does not look for these men who mine illegally. Out of the 45 odd mines that have been surveyed, it has been found only 6 are undertaking their business as per the norms. The people feel that over the next few months more mines will shut down and to a large extent it does worry them since it is a matter of their employment.

Kumar says that while this sort of insecurity is there in the heads of the people, there is also an awareness that is being created. The people are being told that such a change will only be a temporary problem, but in the long run it is good for the district and their employment options will be wider and more important healthier. He says that they have started to realize that the change needed is political and no report can ensure that. They do not speak in particular about any politician, but say that someone who is not from the mining community should be elected in Bellary. Further the people are also being told that if mining stops then it would improve their health. Today the people face various ailments such as cancer, infections etc and all this is due to mining and dust that it kicks up. Justice Santhosh Hegde too had pointed out that working in Bellary for 4 days can give one infection on the skin and that is how bad the dust kicked up by these speeding mining trucks are. In addition to this there are accidents due to rash driving by these trucks and nearly 500 people have died in the past five years due to this.

The leaders are however singing a different song. They say way too much is being made out of this mining issue and the real picture is not as big as it looks. Sriramulu, mininster in the Karnataka government who is a close aide of the Reddy brothers has nothing against the report on illegal mining. He says that it should be made public and also acted upon. He however chose to make a bigger issue out of the phone tapping issue which has become a central point of debate ever since Justice Hegde spoke about it