Karnataka Governor urges Centre to intervene in illegal mining issue

     Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj on Tuesday met President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and briefed her about the ongoing opposition protest over the illegal mining issue. Governor Bharadwaj and his wife met the President over breakfast, Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said. Bharadwaj is slated to meet Home Minister P Chidambaram and has reportedly petitioned the Centre to intervene in Karnataka crisis and said that 'corruption is at its peak in the state'. Earlier, raising the pitch on the illegal mining scam, opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular MLAs and MLCs spent the entire night in the Karnataka assembly, seeking to mount pressure on the Yeddyurappa government to order a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into it. After the helmet protest on Monday, MLAs and MLCs slept in the assembly last night. "This is a thick-skinned government. The Yeddyurappa government is involved in the illegal mining," leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah said as he came out of the 'Vidhan Soudha' for a morning stroll. Noting that Chief Minister Y.S. Yeddyurappa has admitted to illegal mining to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees in the past seven years, he accused the state government of failing to check plundering of iron ore. "Those engaged in illegal mining are in his (Yeddyurappa's) cabinet. He (the is giving them protection," Siddaramaiah alleged. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said, "They (MLAs) are spoiling the sanctity of the house by using non-vegetarian food in the house, which is totally against the established tradition of the house". The assembly has been rocked over the issue of illegal mining in the State for the past few days. Opposition MLAs came to the assembly on Monday wearing helmets, saying they had been threatened by the BJP's legislators. Both Congress and JD-S have insisted that nothing short of a CBI inquiry would bring out the truth on illegal mining, as it involved inter-state and international operations in view of large-scale iron ore export. Lok Ayukta or CID is ill-equipped to probe a scam of such magnitude, Siddaramaiah said. The opposition leader demanded investigation into the scam, including that which took place during the tenure of earlier governments by CBI. The Congress has termed illegal mining as the "scam of the century". Responding to questions, Siddaramaiah said the opposition is also pressing for imposition of President's Rule in the state. "Law and order has collapsed. The government has failed to protect the interests of the State. He said it appears as if (mineral-rich) Bellary district is a separate state, not even part of Karnataka. Congress would stage a 'padayatra' from Bengaluru to Bellary after conclusion of the current session and hold a huge rally in Bellary," he said. Congress and JDS have repeatedly targeted Karnataka Ministers and brothers G Janardhana Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy, who are also mining barons hailing from Bellary.

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