Illegal mining: Furious BJP says Karnataka Governor violating constitutional norm

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New Delhi/ Bangalore, July 13 (ANI): A furious Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the Governor of Karnataka, H.K.Bharadwaj, of exceeding his constitutional role by involving himself directly on the issue of illegal mining in the state.

"Mr. Bharadwaj should decide once and for all whether he is holding a Constitutional post or he is a rank agent of the Congress party... The kind of statement he has made, we take a strong offense to it, and, we will demand from President of India - please check your Governor. The Governor cannot become an agent to destabilise the government which has been popularly elected," said Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson.

Prasad's broadside came after Bharadwaj met President Pratibha Devisingh Patil over breakfast in Delhi to update her on the root cause of all the commotion: The powerful Reddy brothers, mining barons and Cabinet ministers, and their alleged involvement with illegal mining.

After the meeting with the President, Bharadwaj told reporters that corrupt ministers cannot be allowed to continue in the government.

Bharadwaj said: "I have informed both the Chief Minister as well as the Central government of my concern. And, I will meet the Home Minister tomorrow and will apprise him of the latest situation. This is only a controversy about four to five ministers who are involved in illegal mining and making huge profits. I have referred the matter to the Election Commission, raising two questions: Office of Profit, and also conflict of interest. You are being paid by the state good salary, good perks... how can you do this kind of things?"

In Karnataka, the political temperature remains hot as Opposition MLAs first spent the night at the Assembly, and then refused to go home after the Speaker adjourned the Assembly for the day.

They took the floor of the House in a whole new way - with satin pillows, reclining against one another in a somewhat unnatural show of political solidarity.

What the Opposition - mainly the Congress party and the JD(S) - want to provoke is a CBI inquiry against the Reddy brothers, Karunakara and Janardhan.

On Friday, this demand pushed the Assembly to the edge of violence. On Monday, Opposition MLAs showed up at work wearing hard-hats, insisting they don't feel safe because they've been threatened by the BJP, including the Reddys, to back off.

"They made a statement in the floor of the House - you come to Bellary, we will see that you will be stripped," alleged Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

That the Reddys pose a formidable opponent is well-known to Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, who faced their wrath just a few months ago.

Upset with him for introducing policies that they deemed unsuitable for their business interest, the Reddys orchestrated a giant rebellion against the Chief Minister, one that included publicly parading 60 MLAs who said that if they had to choose, they'd side with the mining barons.

Confronted with the prospect of losing his job, Yeddyurappa gave in to their demands, sacking a minister who the Reddys objected to. He wept in public at his predicament.

Bharadwaj says he has urged the Chief Minister to take a bolder stand now.

"The Chief Minister himself was a victim. One year ago in Delhi, it was a big scene. He is a person who realises this, I spoke to him and told him, 'You are the CM, it is you who should tell... and nobody else... as you are the one who appointed them.' So he says 'I need time to correct all this.' He doesn't say this has not happened." (ANI)

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