From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Jul 16: The newly inducted Cooperation Minister B J Puttaswamy, who is one of the two lucky MLCs to find a ministerial berth in the Jagadish Shettar cabinet after Udupi’s Kota Srinivas Poojary, said he was ready to quit if it helps in getting cabinet berths to five of the disgruntled BJP MLAs.
''But I will resign only if my leader and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa asks me to,” the minister told reporters in his chambers in Vidhana Soudha on Monday.
Puttaswamy, who joined BJP from Congress and was rewarded by Yeddyurappa with the appointment as his political secretary – a post carrying ministerial rank and perks, said he was ''deeply pained by the opposition and public criticism” leveled by some of the ruling party legislators on being made a minister.
''While I have nothing against them (MLAs opposed to him) and would be very glad if they were made ministers,” Puttaswamy said: ''I too have some standing in politics and am certainly qualified and eligible.”
Puttaswamy said BJP recognised his importance in the party after a massive rally of the Ganiga backward classes community, to which he belongs, at the Palace Grounds in the City last year. The Ganinga community has population of 10 to 12 lakhs in the State, he said.
Expressing sympathy to legislators who did not make it to the Cabinet, Puttaswamy said “if Yeddyurappa asks me, I will immediately tender my resignation to the ministry without any hesitation whatsoever.”
As political secretary to the former chief minister, Puttaswamy had exposed several land denotification cases involving JD(S) leaders, including its national president and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief minister and state JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy and their family members.
Acknowledging Puttaswamy’s role in cornering the JD(S), Yeddyurappa had publicly defended his induction into the cabinet and openly claimed that ''One Puttaswamy is equivalent to five ministers.”
Without directly mentioning Yeddyurppa’s lavish praise and public compliments to him, Puttaswamy admitted that the former chief minister was responsible for his political re-birth.
''I was used and discared by the Congeress party, which did not appreciate my worth. But I owe my political rise or the second political innings to Yeddyurappa. I will always remain loyal to him throughout my life,” he said.
SMK Regime Leased Over 90,000 ha of Forest Lands for Mining
The minister said over 90,000 hectares of forest lands had leased out for mining activities during the S M Krishna regime in the State.
The State Government submitted its second report to the Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on the issue of illegal mining during the tenures of S M Krishna, N Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy.
The revenue loss to the state exchequer during the tenure of these three ministers was Rs 723 crore, he said.
Puttaswamy said the Congress Government headed by Krishna had leased out 96,261 hectares of forest land for mining activities.
The mining business reached its boom during the tenures of Krishna, Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy, he claimed.
The minister said the top officials of the Government had not mentioned the loss occurred to the State exchequer due to illegal mining during the rule of Krishna, Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy in the first report submitted to the CEC.
The D V Sadananda Government had submitted the second report in the backdrop of objections raised by Yeddyurappa, who himself is facing illegal mining probe, alleging that Gowda was soft-pedalling the role of the three former chief ministers while he was being singled out.
Referring to the role of officials and politicians in the multi-crore housing societies scam, Puttaswamy said besides imposing fine, criminal cases would be booked against officials and non-officials who had indulged in housing sites scams of various housing societies in Bangalore and other parts of the State.
The Department would not tolerate misuse of public funds by cooperative societies and a meeting of all district cooperative societies’ registrars would be called soon to indentify the number of beneficiaries obtained crop loans at the rate of one per cent rate of interest.
The Cooperation Act would be amended to punish the guilty, he said after a brief meeting with top officials of the department.