Karnataka cabinet: Storm brews in social media against allocation of forest portfolio to mining baron

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BANGALORE: With the appointment of Anand Singh as forest, ecology and environment minister fuelling a storm in the social media, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa is under pressure to change his portfolio.

 

Times of India reported that the chief minister has begun consultations with senior ministers on taking away the sensitive portfolio from the Vijayanagara MLAs, a mining-baron turned politician who was among 17 MLAs switched over to BJP from Congress and Janata Dal (S).

Social activists had questioned the propriety of giving him the forest portfolio as he is facing over a dozen cases under the Forest Act and some others related to mining. They argued that it was a clear case of conflict of interest. Some of the activists have also launched an online petition against the appointment.

The opposition Congress has also come out against the appointment, saying it was wrong to hand over the charge of forest to a minister is a culprit in forest and mining cases.

“Forest minister facing 15 cases under Forest act. @BSYBJP allotting forest ministry to Anand Singh is illegal since he has over dozen cases pending against him, including serious offenses under Karnataka Forest Act. How can people charged with serious offences head the ministry?” Karnataka Congress tweeted.

On Wednesday, Singh told TOI he hadn’t asked for the portfolio and the CM, who had given him this responsibility, was free to withdraw it.

Singh, who had won the December by-election, was inducted into the Ministry by Yediyurappa on February 6 and initially given the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs portfolio on February 10.

Buckling under pressure from some newly inducted Ministers, reportedly including Singh, who were unhappy with portfolios allocated to them, the Chief Minister the very next day reallocated certain portfolios, appointing the Vijayanagara MLA as Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment, said a News 18 report.

Image Credit: News18

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