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Last Updated : Jun 14, 2019 09:22 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Karnataka-JSW Steel land deal row: Political battle heats up as BJP sits on dharna

On June 13, Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing, led by the young BJP MP Tejasvi Surya protested the state government’s decision to seal the lease-cum-sale deal.

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Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Karnataka on June 14 protested against the sale of a 3,700-acre land parcel in Bengaluru to JSW Steel.

This came even as Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the government would reconsider its decision to sell the land to JSW amid the huge backlash against the deal.

Karnataka State BJP President BS Yeddyurappa in a tweet raised alarm against the deal and called it 'fishy'. It read: "Karnataka government's fishy behaviour to sell few thousands of acres of land to Jindal hints at a massive scam. Is Congress trying to make up for all the losses in the Lok Sabha elections?"

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Shobha Karandlaje, General Secretary of BJP Karnataka, in her tweet asked the coalition government to explain to the people why it is keen on selling thousands of acres of land to Jindal at a meagre price, despite protests.

On June 13, Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing, led by the young BJP MP Tejasvi Surya protested the state government’s decision to seal the lease-cum-sale deal.

This came after the Karnataka government in its cabinet decision last month approved the lease-cum-sale deed of nearly 3,700-acre land to JSW Steel. It priced a 2,00-acre parcel at Rs 1.22 lakh per acre and Rs 1.50 lakh for another 1,667 acres.

Apart from BJP leaders, even the senior Congress leader, HK Patil wrote two letters to the JD(S)-Congress government against the deal. The main issue is the pricing, which the BJP leaders and HK Patil said is very low.

In his letter to the government, Patil said that the market value of the land in question is at least Rs 1 crore per acre. According to reports, other leaders have pegged the price of the land to be Rs 15-20 lakh.

However, Congress and JD(S) leaders have defended the decision saying the government is only implementing what it had committed to JSW Steel in 2005 since the company had met all the conditions of the agreement.

Industries Minister KJ George, in a press briefing, said the conditions which were met included employment generation and project implementation. However, the document detailing the conditions was not disclosed.

Recently, rural development minister Krishna Byre Gowda pointed out that it was the BJP government in 2011 who decided on the value of Rs 90,000 per acre when they were in power. In the cabinet meeting last week, the HD Kumaraswamy-led government increased the price to Rs 1.22 lakh.

With huge cry over the sale of land, Kumaraswamy said the government will discuss the matter again before the deal is finalised.

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First Published on Jun 14, 2019 09:09 pm
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