BENGALURU: As the campaign for the October 30 bypolls in the state heats up, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, is determined to dent the image of BJP’s Hanagal candidate Shivaraj Sajjanar by raking up the Sangur sugar factory issue.
Winning Hanagal is a matter of prestige for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai as it is in his home district Haveri. While Bommai has managed to put a lid on the MySugar privatisation issue by assuring that the government will take steps to revive it, Siddaramaiah has alleged that Sajjanar had engaged in corruption when the Sangur sugar factory was a cooperative.
The loss-making Sangur factory was later leased out to Davanagere MP G M Siddeshwara. In public rallies and on Twitter, Siddaramaiah has hit out at Sajjanar saying when he was the vice-president of the sugar factory, the latter even did not spare gunny bags and sold them to make money.
“A probe conducted under the 1959 Cooperatives Act instructed you to repay Rs 33 lakh. Have you forgotten about it?” Siddaramaiah questioned Sajjanar.
Sajjanar, however, retorted asking why Siddaramaiah did not order for a probe when he was the chief minister. Bommai, however, came to the rescue of Sajjanar saying that the factory went to the dogs during the Congress regime, but now, under the BJP rule, crushing of sugarcane has commenced. While the government’s stake in the factory is about Rs 2.51 crore, the management has taken a loan of Rs 28.22 crore. Siddaramaiah also accused Sajjanar of grabbing 21 acres of government land at Gowrapura.
He claimed that he had granted Rs 2,400 crore for the development of Hanagal, which Bommai has disputed.
“Let us discuss our contribution to Hanagal on a common platform,” Siddaramaiah challenged Bommai. Interestingly, Medium and Large Scale Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, who owns a sugar mill, has been made BJP in-charge for the Hanagal bypoll.