Friday, April 22, 2005

Gowda makes 'U' turn on Arkavati layout

Gowda makes 'U' turn on Arkavati layout
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court quashing formation of the proposed Arkavati layout in the City outskirts has opened new challenges to the coalition Government, especially for the junior partner JD(S).

JD(S), which always went offensive against Government giving importance to development of Bangalore has been forced to change its tone. While JD(S) Working President prematurely thought it was `his party victory', former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda is now thinking other way.

Refuting his son's claim that the High Court verdict was `JD(S) victory', Gowda has asked the Government to go on appeal against the verdict. This was one of the area, where Gowda constantly charged the previous Government of `land grabbing' through notification and de-notification scam. He always hoped to nail his arch rival and former Chief Minister S M Krishna of being hand in glove with `land mafia'.

Though the Court had passed strictures against Krishna, the judgment put the Government in an awkward situation. The Government's tag of being anti-development and anti-middle class was strengthened. It also widened the resentment between Congress and JD(S) in party level, which prompted many Congress leaders to speak against JD(S) openly.

Gowda is well aware that the judgment has affected the electoral prospect of the coalition partners in the City and Bangalore rural district. With Zilla Panchayat round the corner, the Arkavati judgment will have an impact on JD(S) prospectus even in Bangalore rural district also, where it swept the previous general elections.

Besides, Gowda has also come under tremendous pressure within the party, who felt that JD(S) would be branded as anti-middle class people. It was a well know fact that most of the land in the proposed layout were in the hands of people, who hold General Power Attorney (GPA). Gowda's personal interest against forming the layout was seen as JD(S) was trying to help the land owners and GPA holders, instead of middle class people in the City.

Arkavati was not the first layout which went for litigation. In earlier cases, the land owners in Anjanapura, Banashankari VI phase and Visveshwaraya layout also had approached the Court. While the BDA's stand was vindicated in three cases, Arkavati judgment went against BDA.

But, Gowda's special interest in Arkavati was glaring from the day one. Even before the Government was formed, the Karnataka High Court, following petition by some contractors, had ruled that the tendering process in Arkavati layout was proper. However, soon after the coalition Government was formed, the Government decided to re-tender formation of Arkavati layout, stating that only big contractors were being awarded tenders.

All the events have made people to believe that the petitioners were instigated by Gowda. Now, Gowda is a worried man and wants to assure the people that he is no anti-middle class. The advise to Government for go on appeal against Single Judge order is the first step towards that.


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