November 18, 2010 2:02:41 am
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is going to find it difficult to argue his way out of this one. The states opposition parties have now accessed and released documents which they say show that the CM used his discretionary powers to release from government use denotify plots of land near Bangalore. The ultimate beneficiaries of his decision are his own immediate family his sons,his daughters-in-law,his son-in-law. Indeed,Yeddyurappa hasnt tried very hard to argue that the accusations are baseless; hes just said that denotification of this sort is completely within his powers as CM,and that everyone does it. His press secretary has said,on his behalf,that his party president Nitin Gadkari of the BJP is satisfied,and that therefore he doesnt intend to react further. If the BJP is indeed satisfied,if Yeddyurappas explanation that all CMs do it,is considered sufficient,then Karnataka politics is in a deep,deep hole. This is the state and local party,after all,that is the home base of the Reddys of Bellary,the brothers,as this newspaper has detailed,who have used their political power to suborn local administration to help their mining business and used the extraordinary profits that the state-supervised business provides to prop up their political power. The sinkhole that Karnataka politics has become is the most persuasive of arguments that real estate and mining desperately need depoliticisation and reform unless they are to poison politics across this country. But,even if more stringent mining regulation is passed this session,and even if we finally wake up,post-Adarsh,to the need to reduce the state governments arbitrary power to notify and denotify and consequently change land values overnight we are still left with the problem of Karnataka. Bangalore,for so long a beacon of progress,is being held hostage to the extractive politics these exemplify. For Karnatakas sake,Yeddyurappas attempt to brazen out these revelations must not be allowed. He and his government have shown themselves to be mired in the worst sort of crony capitalism. He must go and if he refuses,he must be asked to go.
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