Saturday, July 25, 2009

Anti-ISKCON hero eyeing its land

Anti-ISKCON hero eyeing its land
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-07-24 Place: Bangalore

State Congress working president D K Shivakumar, who won praise in the assembly for his onslaught against the religious trust, is upset it bought land he was coveting

D K SHIVAKUMAR, hero of the anti-Iskcon campaign in the assembly yesterday, was eyeing the land it eventually bought.

The state Congress working president won praise from across parties yesterday for bringing to light alleged irregularities by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Sour grapes?: Congress strongman DK Shivakumar admits to having bid for the land where Iskcon has proposed its Rs 350 crore Krishna Leela Park (above)

Impressed by his facts and figures, the government agreed to constitute a house committee to probe the religious group's Akshayapatra mid-day meal scheme and its real estate interests.

Iskcon is developing residential and commercial complexes on 35 acres of private land on Kanakapura Road to fund its ambitious Krishna Leela theme park. The park is coming up alongside on 28 acres of government-allotted land.

Interestingly, Shivakumar was one of the bidders when the private land went up for sale a couple of years ago.
"He is making a huge noise because he wants to gobble it up," said a source in the Congress.

Admitting that he was one of the bidders, Shivakumar said in the assembly, "I was under the impression that Iskcon would build a temple, and allowed them to buy the land. When I came to know they were into real estate, I raised an alarm."

Shivakumar is a life member of Iskcon. "When the S M Krishna government approved the Akshayapatra scheme, Shivakumar was a minister," said the source. "He supported the scheme then, but is now opposing it. The reason is obvious."

Split in Congress
Not everyone in the Congress is supporting Shivakumar. Some leaders such as Narendra Babu are backing Iskcon's mid-day meal scheme, but Shivakumar shut them up in full view of the assembly speaker.

"I should have been allowed to speak. I felt humiliated that Shivakumar stopped me," he told MiD DAY.


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