At 76, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda is gearing up for what he calls his “last battle” to salvage his image as a farmers’ leader.
Having completed a 3,000-km trek across 26 districts of Karnataka against displacement of farmers due to land acquisition, Gowda is to stage a sit-in with 1,500 displaced farmers before the Parliament on March 10 and 11.
The group, led by him, will also submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and Leaders of Opposition. Backing him are Prakash Karat of CPI(M), A.B. Bardhan of CPI, and Ajit Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Gowda alleges that the BJP government is going to acquire 1.70 lakh acres all over Karnataka for its proposed land bank for industries.
It is an extension of his fight against land acquisition for the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.
Gowda says the BMIC issue is centred on the changes that have taken place from the original plan and the MoU inked with a consortium of two foreign companies and one company on BOOT basis during his tenure as chief minister in 1995.
He alleges that Ashok Kheny, managing director of
Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Ltd. (NICE) - the private company implementing the project is “not interested” in completing the project.
Gowda says his apprehension is that NICE will sell the land acquired for the BMIC project.
“The company ought to return 14,255.70 acres, including 6,999 acres in the toll road division, to the government...”
Gowda regrets his shifting to Delhi as he feels his "shift to national politics has led to the promoters diluting the spirit of the project.