The Mysore-Kodagu BJP Lok Sabha member Prathap Simha’s comments at the mega convention at Madikeri on Friday to oppose the Kasturirangan report has led to cracks in the unity of Kodagu politicians allegedly backed by the timber lobby.
Simha’s comments against the previous Congress-led UPA government led to a walk-out by JD(S) MLA Y. S. V. Datta and Somwarpet block Congress president K.M. Lokesh.
When Simha accused the previous UPA government for constituting the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan committees to conserve the Western Ghats, the statement sparked off protests from politicians belonging to all hues, including the BJP, Congress and JD(S).
Despite the protests from the various party leaders, Simha went on to state: “Truth is always bitter. The Congress government has kept the people in the dark. The State government has not submitted its report to the Centre. Let the State submit the report and leave the rest to us.”
Datta who had staged a walk-out, was persuaded by BJP leader K.G. Bopaiah to stay on. Speaking at the convention later, Datta said their fight against the Kasturirangan report should be kept apolitical. “People should not allow any leader to utilise the issue for political gain,” he said.
Bopaiah and Simha too had disagreements regarding the statements made by the latter during the convention, according to a Deccan Herald report.