Bangalore, Feb 16 (Calcutta Tube) Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular president H.D. Deve Gowda Tuesday began a tour of Karnataka to mobilise farmers against massive land acquisition for infrastructure and industries. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa decried Gowda’s agitation as a ‘malicious campaign’ against his government.
Yeddyurappa’s government plans to build a land bank of over 100,000 acres to attract huge investments to the state, enthused by the interest shown by steel giants ArcelorMittal, Posco and several major players in auto, cement, pharma sectors.
Gowda, who prides himself as ‘mannina maga’ (son of the soil) and champion of farmers, has charged the Yeddyurappa government with ‘forcibly’ acquiring fertile lands for the benefit of industrialists and launched a week-long tour of the state to drum up support against it.
Dismissing Gowda’s charges as ‘attempts to mislead the people’, Yeddyurappa told reporters here Tuesday that the former prime minister has been indulging in ‘malicious campaign’ over the land acquisition issue.
‘Since my government assumed office 19 months ago, there has been a relentless campaign on various issues, including land acquisition, with an intention to mislead people,’ Yeddyurappa asserted.
The planned land bank was part of preparations for the Global Investors Meet scheduled for June this year, the chief minister said.
‘We want to ensure availability of land to investors coming forward to set up industries. We don’t want to delay the projects for want of land,’ he said.
Wondering whether any government can promote industrial development without acquiring land, Yeddyurappa posed: ‘Did his government not acquire land? Why such campaign against me?’
Gowda began his state-wide tour from Tumkur, about 70 km from here, by addressing a farmers rally.