On a day when the Bharitya Janta Party (BJP) took to the streets with a 'Parivartana Yatra' in a specially designed ratha and Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS) launched fifty vehicles mounted with LED screens, the ruling Congress party held a protest against BJP leader R Ashok in connection with the Bagar hukum land scam.
Party leaders and volunteers gathered at the Town Hall in Bengaluru raising slogans against R Ashok who is incidentally the convenor of the yatra commenced by the BJP.
Protestors demanded the recovery of 2,500 acres of land denotified and allotted to various beneficiaries in 75 villages of Bengaluru South Taluk by BJP leader R Ashoka when he was the Deputy Chief Minister and Chairman of Bagar Hukum Regularisation Committee. MLC VC Ugrappa had earlier alleged that Ashoka had allotted the land to BJP members, his own family and others known to him.
Speaking to media persons, Dinesh Gundu Rao of the Congress said, "The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officers have to file a suo motu case against R Ashok and other officials involved in the allotment of the land."
Bagar Hukum cultivators are farmers with no formal and documented ownership rights to government land they had occupied over the years. The cultivators argue that they should be treated as a distinct category of land occupants with traditional rights of use to the land.
Ashoka dismissed the allegations. “This case was quashed by both Lokayukta and High Court two years ago. If they want to pursue the case, they had to appeal against the High Court order before the Supreme Court, not hold a presser,” he said speaking to The New Indian Express earlier this week.
BJP appears to have resorted to the development card while campaigning for votes in Karnataka with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the way in claiming that the people of Karnataka are crying for development. The 'Parivartana Yatra' was flagged off by Amit Shah, President of the BJP, and is set to travel over 6000 kms in 75 days canvassing for votes.
With Karnataka’s state elections coming up in seven months, the war of words between political leaders in the state is only beginning to heat up.