Following protests by the BJP, Kumaraswamy had invited Yeddyurappa to discuss the proposed land deal with JSW Steel.

Jindal land deal Yeddyurappa to snub CM Kumaraswamys invite for talksPTI/ File image
news Politics Monday, June 17, 2019 - 17:40

The BJP led by BS Yeddyurappa is unlikely to accept Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s invitation to meet over the proposed land deal with Jindal group’s JSW Steel Ltd in Ballari. The government was criticised for proposing a direct sale deed with the steel majors at a throwaway price, with senior Congress MLA HK Patil also hitting out at the deal.

Despite the CM referring the matter to a cabinet sub-committee meeting and halting the outright sale of 3,700 acres of iron-ore laden land, the BJP said it will only intensify its stir until and unless the government announces that it won’t proceed towards an absolute sale deed.

The BJP including its top leaders had held a three-day protest in Bengaluru beginning on Friday against the government centring on this land deal and other issues and even tried to storm his home office.

On Sunday, Kumaraswamy had invited Yeddyurappa to discuss the issue through JD(S) MLA Venkatrao Nadgowda who met the BJP leader at the protest site.

BJP spokesperson Shantaram said, “Our demand is to cancel the sale proposal once and for all. There is no change in that stand, we will only intensify the agitation. So, there is no point of discussion with the Chief Minister until and unless a Government Order is issued declaring that there won’t be any sale.”

“If the government is keen on industries running, we have no problem of extending the lease agreement that is also legally possible,” he added.

When asked about the BJP being part of the initial land deal with Jindal in 2006 when Yeddyurappa was the then Deputy CM, Shantaram said at that point it was only a lease deal.

“As we understand, the government has every right to review the earlier order. Let Jindal go to court. All the companies would always naturally want for an outright sale. But why is the government so keen on an outright sale?” he asked.

The CM’s office confirmed that there has been no response from the Leader of Opposition and the date of the cabinet committee meeting is yet to be ascertained.

Political analyst Mahadeva Prakash sees the BJP stand nothing out of the ordinary.

“With opposition to the deal within the government coming from senior MLA HK Patil, the BJP will obviously take the matter to its logical end. The government promising another sub-committee review is not a sincere move but only a reaction. The BJP will capitalise on the mood of the local people against Jindal and make the issue of kickbacks big,” he said.

The lease-cum-sale agreement was signed by the Karnataka government with JSW in 2006 when the JD(S)-BJP government was in power.  Thirteen years later, in the cabinet meeting on May 27, the Kumaraswamy government gave a nod to the sale deal, setting the price at Rs 1.22 lakh per acre for the first parcel of land and Rs 1.5 lakh per acre for the second parcel of land when the market rate is much higher. The opposition to the sale of 3,700 acre land to JSW Steel is on two grounds. One being the throwaway price of the land and second being that the land was being sold much ahead of the 99 year lease period.

BJP stages protest in Bengaluru against state government over JSW land deal

Karnataka govt to reassess Jindal land deal, what the controversy is all about

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