BJP-JD(S) to jointly fight Congress in Karnataka; raise NICE project issue

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BJP-JD(S) to jointly fight Congress in Karnataka; raise NICE project issue

Bengaluru: Former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy announced on Friday that his party and the BJP will work together as the opposition against the Congress government in Karnataka in the interest of the state.

Kumaraswamy made this announcement at a joint press conference with former BJP Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai at the Vidhana Soudha.

Answering a question in this regard, Kumaraswamy said that it has been decided that the two parties will work together both inside and outside the Assembly.

Kumaraswamy said that his father, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, has been authorised to take a final call on this matter. He also clarified that the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are far away, and appropriate decisions will be taken when the right time comes.

After protesting together against the deputation of IAS officers to welcome guests at a private political meeting, Bommai and Kumaraswamy urged the Congress government to take over the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project promoted by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE).

“The NICE project is a big scandal… Fraud is being committed to the people of the state in the name of the project. The project should be taken over by the government completely,” the joint statement issued by Bommai and Kumaraswamy said.

Kumaraswamy also claimed that the NICE project is a daylight robbery being committed in the state.

“Siddaramaiah talks about ending corruption, so why is he quiet on the NICE project? The previous BJP government led by Bommai had initiated action against illegalities and I congratulate him for that. I sought time to discuss the issue in the Assembly session, but time was not given,” he said.

“The government will get Rs 30,000 crore if this project is scrapped. Let the Congress utilise these funds to guarantee schemes,” Kumaraswamy demanded.

Bommai said, “We had initiated action against NICE illegalities and in this backdrop, the BJP and the JD(S) are coming together to raise the issue. Additional land has been taken over by the company.

“The government has the power to take over the additional land and the Supreme Court had clearly given direction in this regard. However, NICE now is planning to acquire more land.

“The present government should immediately take back the additional land. There is no necessity for the NICE project as the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway is built between Bengaluru-Mysuru cities. The toll has been collected additionally and it should be taken back. The government should clarify its stand on the NICE project.”

Reacting to the joint press conference and the allegations levelled against him, Shivakumar said the entire project was signed by Deve Gowda during his tenure as the Chief Minister. If at all there was a scam, it should have been probed when the JD (S) and BJP were ruling the state.

“We will not indulge in vindictive politics. If there is any violation of law, there are appropriate fora for them,” he said.

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