- Kelachandra Joseph George, perhaps, is the most controversial minister in the Siddaramaiah government
- From the suicide of police officer to steel bridge to Bengaluru floods, George has been in the news for the wrong reasons
- George is now Bengaluru district in-charge minister
Ever since the Supreme Court has ordered the CBI probe into the DySP MK Ganapathy's alleged suicide, the Opposition BJP has been baying for the blood of Bengaluru District In-charge minister Kelachandra Joseph George. They have launched massive protests against George, perhaps the most controversial minister in the Siddaramaiah government. To bring pressure on the Congress government, the BJP has been intensifying their protest against the minister. On Saturday, they warned to hold a night-long protest if the minister does not quit by September 26.
George, then home minister in the Siddaramaiah government, was named by the then police officer DySP MK Ganapathy, before he was found dead in a lodge in Madikeri in July 2016. Ganapathy had stated "If anything happened to me, KJ George, Pranab Mohanty and AM Prasad (police officers) would be responsible," to a local television news channel before his death. Although George resigned owing to the pressure by the Opposition parties, he was back in the cabinet after the CID gave him a clean chit in the Ganapathy case. But, with now Apex Court handing over the case to the CBI, the Opposition is demanding for his resignation. They have threatened to intensify the protest, till he resigns or Siddaramaiah removes him from the cabinet.
In fact, this was not the first time that the BJP is seeking George's removal from the cabinet. Even when IAS officer DK Ravi had committed suicide, minister George was being blamed for his death. Protests after protests were held against him but in vain. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his cabinet colleagues stood behind George which further bolstered his image in the government. However, it was after the CBI found nothing against George in the IAS officer's death, George emerged more powerful.
Even take the case of steel bridge a project that minister George was hell-bent on implementing it, earning the wrath of Bengalureans. After the National Green Tribunal took cognisance of the project's adverse impact on the city's ecology, the Opposition party had staged a walkout in the Assembly. But, undeterred George had stated that " They cannot represent 1.3 crore people of Bengaluru. The government was elected by the public and has the right to take decisions," George had stated. The steel flyover was expected to come up at the cost of Rs 1760 crore. But after the National Green Tribunal took cognisance of the project's adverse impact on the City's ecology and Bengalureans 'Steel flyover Beku-Beda' campaign, the government buckled under the pressure and scrapped the project. The government defended its stand claiming that it does not want to be accused of receiving kickbacks in the project hence it wants to withdraw from it. This had silenced Opposition leaders to an extent.
However, George's failure as the Bengaluru in-charge minister to tackle flooding in Bengaluru has put him in the spotlight again. Four people were killed, and scores properties were damaged in the recent rain in Bengaluru. Angry residents even performed "funeral ceremony" of minister George. The fact that Siddaramaiah has not pulled up George has irked BJP. They now want to see Siddaramaiah government without minister George.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:03 PM IST