Congress begins walk to Bellary against illegal mining

July 25th, 2010 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 25 (IANS) The Congress, the main opposition party in Karnataka, Sunday began a 320-km ‘padyatra’ (walk) from Bangalore to Bellary to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s powerful ministers, the Reddy brothers, over illegal mining.
State Congress leaders and workers plan to walk 20 km a day and reach the iron-ore rich Bellary district Aug 9, coinciding with the ‘Quit India’ movement against the British colonialists, and hold a rally in the political base of the Reddy brothers.

Several freedom fighters and writers, including Jnanpith award winner U.R. Anantha Murthy, have extended support for the walk and were present at the Freedom Park in the heart of Bangalore for the brief launch ceremony.

Freedom Park was earlier the city’s central jail where during the 1975-77 Emergency where several senior opposition leaders including, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) L.K. Advani were lodged.

The BJP plans to counter the Congress ‘padayatra’ by organising four rallies beginning with Davangere in central Karnataka Aug 2, Gulbarga in the north Aug 5, Mysore in the south Aug 12 and the last one in Bellary Aug 20.

The Reddy brothers - state Tourism Minister G. Janardhana, his elder brother and Revenue Minister G. Karunakara and the younger G. Somashekara, a member of the assembly - are accused of large-scale illegal mining and export of iron ore.

Janardhana Reddy, the most vocal of the brothers, has denied the allegations but Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are insisting on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the issue.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has rejected the demand and has asked the state Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, to investigate the illegal mining and export since 2000-2001.

Though the Reddy brothers and their supporting legislators from Bellary have dared opposition members to visit the district, the Congress is saying the walk is not against individuals but to expose illegal mining and the BJP government’s failure on several fronts.

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