Karnataka ministers call governor a man of ‘prejudiced mindset’


The Hindu

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A file picture of Karnataka Higher Education Minister Dr V S Acharya. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

The Hindu A file picture of Karnataka Higher Education Minister Dr V S Acharya. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

 

In fresh barbs against B S Yeddyurappa, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj on Thursday said he will decide in two days on sanctioning prosecution of the Chief Minister in alleged land scams, drawing sharp reaction from ruling BJP which described him as a “man of prejudiced mindset”.

 

“Not today, I will give my decision on the issue in two days, will speak to the media then,” Mr. Bhardwaj told reporters here, unfazed by the State cabinet resolution asking him to drop prosecution proceedings, based on a complaint with him.

 

“The land scam has been going on for many days. It is nothing new. The probe in the matter was entrusted to Lokayukta, then he (Chief Minister) said he would give back the lands, then the matter was referred to a judicial commission,” Mr. Bhardwaj said.

 

“Everything is known to the media. What do I have to do with this? It is people’s land that has been taken. It is like pot calling the kettle black (ulta chor kotwal ko dante),” he said.

 

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bhardwaj’s remarks invited a sharp attack from BJP, which deputed an eight member ministerial team to hit out at the governor.

 

“Here is a clear case of prejudged mindset occupying the highest position in the State. This action has justified our statement on Wednesday that the decision has already been taken by the governor without going into facts. The governor has come out with strange statements,” Law Minister S Suresh Kumar told a hurriedly convened press conference.

 

“Mr. Bhardwaj has written a new chapter by announcing the verdict before verifying the evidence,” Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said.

 

“In 63 years since Independence, we have not seen such a situation,” Kannada and Culture Minister Govind Karjol said.

 

Mr. Karjol suggested that the governor reconsider his action of attacking “his own government” when the Chief Minister and the government held Mr. Bhardwaj in high esteem.

 

In a resolution on Wednesday, the cabinet had asked Bhardwaj not to permit prosecution of Mr. Yeddyurappa and Home Minister R Ashoka over alleged land scams, saying such a move was nothing short of a “farce and colourable” exercise on his part.

 

To a query, Mr. Bhardwaj said he had not received the “full documents” he had sought from the government on denotification of lands for which he had set January 20 as the deadline.

 

But the ministers rejected his claim, saying 80 files and documents out of 93 have already been given to him and the remaining are in the process of being submitted.

 

The documents were delivered to Raj Bhavan in batches on January 11, 14, 16 and 17, Mr. Karjol said and released a statement to back his claim.

 

“So he has said two things. The governor says he has not received records sought by him and in the same breath maintains the cabinet decision requesting him to drop the prosecution proceedings amounts to a thief complaining against the police. It is very evident now. It is a clear case of a prejudiced mindset occupying the highest position in the State,” Mr. Suresh Kumar said, taking a dig at the Governor.

 

Mr. Bhardwaj was also dismissive of BJP’s threat of protest against him, saying “all these things are part of today’s politics. I am not scared of that”.

 

Ministers V Somanna, Basavaraj Bommai, C M Udasi, M P Renukacharya, R Ashoka and Chief Whip B N Jeevaraj were present.

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