BJP slams door on tainted minister Ashok?

Home Minister R Ashok, who has been booked in a land scam, has started feeling the effects of the corruption charges after he was not included in a party meeting held yesterday to chalk out plans for L K Advani's public rally in the city.

With Advani being particular about the rally to be held on October 30, as part of his ongoing Jan Chetana Yatra, state BJP president K S Eswarappa had called the meeting in the party office, which was attended by several leaders including Prahlad Joshi, Subbanarasimha and Santhoshkumar Hegde.

Ashok was not invited, but when he happened to show up at the party office while the meeting was in progress, he was asked to stay outside.

The development is said be a clear indication of the change in the priorities of the party as Ashok,  being the district in-charge minister of Bangalore city, was the one who had to lead the rally organising team. He was also to preside over the function to be held at the Basavanagudi National College playground.

Sources in the party said it was the fallout of Ashok's adamancy not to resign as minister after the Lokayukta police filed an FIR against him in the land scam case.

"Advani has given us clear instructions to keep the tainted people at bay, so you cannot expect to see leaders who are facing corruption charges in the vicinity, and Ashok is no exception," said a BJP leader attended the meeting.

The sources added that Ashok would be treated as an untouchable in the party since he is not subjected to any direct punishment or being forced to step down from the ministry.

A visibly upset Ashok tried conceal his anguish when asked to comment. "The BJP is my home and I need not feel like an untouchable here. Nobody has asked me to resign and I need not have to. Its all imagination that I am being sidelined in the party," he said.

Apart from keeping the tainted away, Advani is understood to have asked party leaders not to involve any sponsor for the rally and appealed for funds to be collected from party workers.

"Earlier when the BJP was seen as a party with difference, we used to organise functions with contributions made by party workers. This was changed recently with the ministers being asked to fund functions. Now, we are going back to the original method to ward off the corrupt image the party has earned of late," said the leader.

Meanwhile, the Lokayukta special court directed the police to investigate a case of illegal de-notification of land filed against Industry Minister Murugesh Nirani yesterday.

The order came on the basis of a private complaint filed by industrialist Alam Pasha and the police are expected to file an FIR against him in a day or two, as they have been asked to submit the investigative report by November 16.

Arguments on the bail pleas of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and former minister Krishnaiah Setty continued yesterday in the High Court and the judge, B V Pinto posted the matter for October 28.

Following this development, the bench asked for the medical reports of former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu to be placed before it on October 28, while hearing his bail petition.
Katta, accused in a land scam along with his son, is getting treatment for Limphoma cancer at Mumbai's Leelavathi Hospital while he remains in judicial custody.

His medical reports were filed by Victoria Hospital and Kidwai Institute of Oncology in a sealed dossier to the Lokayukta special court. The court had denied him bail and is holding trail, and the High Court bench asked the lower court to present the reports, based on Katta's counsel Ravi B Nayak's appeal.

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