ML Update


Even as the BJP’s Karnataka Government completed three years, and the Centre once again rejected the Karnataka Governor’s recommendation for imposition of Central rule in the state, a new act in BJP’s Karnataka drama is unfolding once more. The BJP’s topmost leadership is in the middle of a public spat over which of them is responsible for patronizing the powerful Karnataka Ministers and notorious mining mafia: the ‘Bellary brothers’.


Sushma Swaraj, widely known to be very close to the Bellary brothers, sought to distance herself from them by claiming that their appointment to the Karnataka cabinet was a result of ‘political compulsions’ of BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa. Swaraj said that it was on the request of these leaders that she had gone to speak to the Bellary brothers, in a bid to save the BJP’s first government in south India. Subsequently, BJP President Nitin Gadkari has tried to control damage by asserting that the decisions on Karnataka’s cabinet were taken “unanimously.”


While BJP leaders wrangle over who was responsible for the Bellary brothers’ appointment, the inescapable fact is that the BJP as a whole and even the RSS stand deeply mired in one of the country’s worst instances of corruption, crony capitalism and corporate loot. Every year, the Bellary brothers strip the earth of precious iron ore resources and export it to secure enormous profits. On the strength of this wealth, they command the loyalty of over a score of MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly.


The Bellary brothers have time and again demonstrated their power –before which even the BJP national leadership and Karnataka CM appear helpless. Their mining loot provided the critical cash that powered ‘Operation Lotus’ (where the BJP poached MLAs from rival parties in 2009). CM Yeddyurappa, himself besieged by allegations of land scams and fighting for survival in the wake of the SC ruling against disqualification of the rebel MLAs, has defended ‘Operation Lotus’ even as he assured that this time, the BJP had no need to take recourse to another Operation Lotus in order to survive.


Recently, the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) set up by the Supreme Court submitted a report indicting the Reddy brothers for illegal mining in Forest Areas and recommending cancellation of their mining licenses. The BJP Government of Karnataka is yet to show any signs of complying with this ruling. Karnataka’s Lokayukta Santosh Hegde too is expected to submit his report on illegal mining in Bellary by August this year.


The UPA Government, that has just completed two years, is under the shadow of massive scams, with two of its Ministers in jail. The 2G scam itself was an instance of massive crony capitalism and corporate plunder of natural resources. But with its own top leadership compromised in the Bellary mining scandal, the chief Opposition party, the BJP, is in no position to offer any principled or committed challenge to the UPA on the question of corruption or corporate plunder. With the Congress and the BJP both standing exposed as complicit in corruption and corporate loot the time is ripe for all genuine Left and democratic forces to take the lead and intensify the campaign for a corruption-free, democratic India.


(a  CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine,  31 MAY – 06 JUNE 2011)

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