BENGALURU: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has tactfully put the politics over the revival of MySugar on the backburner when he announced on Monday that there are no plans to privatise the now defunct state-owned The Mysore Sugar Company Ltd in Mandya.
Bommai held a meeting with the stakeholders from the region, who appreciated his move, regardless of their political affiliations. Even activists of the Raitha Sangha, who were demanding that the century-old factory be revived, have called off their stir of over 36 days, after Bommai asserted that “crushing of sugarcane is certain from the next season.”
“The Chief Minister upheld the dignity of Mandya by declaring that the factory will be revived by the government,” remarked Raitha Hitharakshana Samithi secretary Sunanda Jayaram, who was part of the dharna. The CM timed the meeting well, with the stakeholders, including the Raitha Sangha leaders and people’s representatives, including Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh, MLAs C S Puttaraju and Raveendra Srikantaiah, among others, when the pressure from various quarters was mounting over the issue. Albeit for the time being, Bommai has doused the fire by promising to set up a cabinet sub-committee to study the revival plan, with a three-month deadline to submit a report.
Interestingly, when B S Yediyurappa was Chief Minister, his predecessor H D Kumaraswamy had led a delegation of MLAs from Mandya in early July with an appeal for the factory’s revival. In fact, when Kumaraswamy was the CM, he reportedly had a plan to revive the unit with some grants, but could not as the JDS-Congress alliance had collapsed by then.
When Sumalatha was reportedly in favour of privatising the unit during Yediyurappa’s regime, Kumaraswamy had attacked her alleging that she was against the interests of farmers. But she had clarified that she wanted the factory to be revived, either by the government or by private entities, which would aid farmers.
Recently, Opposition leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, had raked up the issue and promised farmers that the Congress will revive the factory if it returns to power in 2023. But Bommai’s decision to revive the factory, although a daunting task, has put a lid on the issue, at least for the time being.
“When all his predecessors could not talk about the revival of the factory by the government, Bommai calling a meeting of stakeholders and promising its revival by reviewing the previous cabinet’s decision to lease it out to private parties is a breakthrough” remarked a local leader.
If the factory is revived, it will have bearing on the politics of the region, especially for the BJP, which is trying to expand its base in the Old Mysuru region, where the JDS is also competing to retain its base.