Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda has lent his support to the agitation launched by freedom fighter H S Doreswamy and JD(S) former MLA A T Ramaswamy against land-grabbing in the State.
Addressing a press conference in Bangalore on Saturday, Gowda said he wanted to join the struggle embarked on by Doreswamy, but stayed away as his involvement would have given the issue a political colour.
“For long, I have known that Doreswamy is a person who does not associate his struggles with political outfits. It would bring him a lot of pain if political colour is given to his struggle. However, I do believe that land-grabbing has to be stopped with the State government taking stringent action against those who are involved in it,” he said.
Gowda said the government should, nonetheless, exercise caution when it comes to removing encroachments on revenue properties. “While on the one hand you have struggle to stop land-grabbing, on the other the government is issuing notices to evict people who have been making a living on half an acre or one acre of revenue land. The government needs to ensure that poor people cultivating on revenue land are not harmed. We lend our support to the government endeavour if it intends to remove encroachments by influential people of amruthmahal kavals, forest land and revenue land,” he said.
Gowda said his decision to relocate to Hassan should not be misinterpreted as a bid to get re-elected in 2019 to the Lok Sabha. He said he was getting old and 2014’s was his last election. “My only reason of shifting to Hassan was to clear the debt I owed to the people of Hassan for keeping their faith in me for such a long time,” he said.
Gowda said he will conduct public hearings two days in a week in Hassan and then tour the entire State by visiting all the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies.