Anand Singh quit to pressure govt to give up JSW land deal?

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

JSW Steel successfully netted the mining lease of Rama Rao Poal in the auction ordered by the court.

Anand Singh

Bengaluru: Is Congress MLA, Anand Singh trying to pressure the government to give up its proposed land  deal with JSW Steel in Ballari with his resignation?.

Going by Ballari mining industry sources,  Mr Singh was the "patron" of a mining lease of Rama Rao Poal, which was operational between 2009 and  2011 till the  Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee stepped into the picture. In 2013, when the Supreme Court cancelled the leases of 51 iron ore mines in Karnataka for gross irregularities,  Rama Rao Poal too was shown the door. In 2016, much to the disappointment of Mr Poal's alleged "patron,"  JSW Steel successfully netted the mining lease of Rama Rao Poal in the auction ordered by the court.

But  JSW Steel allegedly found it hard to use the mining lease owing to the hurdles created by one of its "patrons," who is still keen on retaining a hold over Poal's mine.

"Earlier, Singh tried many tricks to get back the Poal's mine, but  JSW Steel didn't give in. And now this land sale issue has come in handy for  him to exert pressure on the coalition government to get his way," claimed one Congress leader.

Sources say former Ballari Congress MLA, Anil Lad, too has joined Mr Singh in opposing the JSW land deal as he also lost his family to the  VS Lad Mines in Sandur in the auction.

“After the Supreme Court's intervention in illegal mining, many politicians involved in the iron ore mining trade lost their businesses and JSW Steel started gaining control over the mining and steel sectors. Now, those who lost their mining businesses are trying to claim a stake in the business of JSW , which ,however, turned down their business proposals. Furious, they were waiting to take on JSW Steel,"said a top industry source.

Cong leaders: We had expected it

Congress leaders while reacting to the resignation of Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi from the Assembly, said they were expected because in the last 13 months, these two legislators had been in forefront of dissidence in the party. Even during the turmoil last year after the fractured Assembly poll results, Anand Singh had disappeared and remained  incommunicado. However, he later surfaced and reiterated his allegiance to the party. In January,  Singh had come to blows with another Congress MLA, J.N. Ganesh at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru. A badly injured Mr Singh was later admitted to hospital. As for Belagavi strongman Ramesh Jarkiholi, he had stayed away from the Congress campaign during the recent Lok Sabha elections. In April, he had said he was only technically with the Congress and had claimed that he would take a decision on joining the BJP after the Lok Sabha results were declared.  According to Congress party sources, Mr Jarkiholi has claimed that there are four other MLAs who are ready to quit and join him.