Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Wednesday urged the State government to drop the decision to allot land at a cheaper price to the Centre for Education and Social Studies (CESS) to establish Chanakya University.
Expressing reservation against the move to transfer the land to CESS, the members of which are from the RSS, the senior Congress leader said the party would seek legal remedy against the decision.
He claimed that the government allotted land worth Rs 300-400 crore at a throwaway price of Rs 50 crore to the proposed university.
The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed the Chanakya University Bill to set up a new private varsity.
"All the members of CESS are from RSS. This is an organisation that promotes the idea of Manu. They want to re-establish the Varnashrama system in our society," Mr Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he alleged that the BJP government hurriedly passed the Chanakya University Bill with a voice-vote in the Assembly without giving room for debate or discussion.
"CESS does not have any prior experience of managing educational institutions and also does not have any infrastructure to start a university. The government should clarify on what criteria has the land been allocated to them," he said.
Noting that the Cabinet in April 2021 decided to hand over 116 acres in Haraluru near Devanahalli to CESS, Mr Siddaramaiah said the notified land was acquired by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) to establish aerospace and defence industries.
"KIADB had acquired the land at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore per acre and gave compensation of Rs 175 crore to acquire the over 116 acres. The same land is now being given to CESS at just Rs 50 crore. The current market price is Rs 300-400 crore," he said.
Alleging that the government is giving a priced land to a RSS-backed agency at a cheaper price, the former Chief Minister said it is unfortunate that the government has overlooked all regulations related to the setting up of a university. "This is a highly criminal and corrupt attempt by the BJP government," he said.
At a time when the second wave of Covid was at its peak and the government was starved of funds, the then BS Yediyurappa government was trying to gift the priced land to CESS at a cheaper cost, he said.
Mr Siddaramaiah further said the Assembly Speaker was partial in his conduct while passing the Chanakya University Bill. He disallowed the leaders of the opposition to discuss important issues surrounding the Bill.
Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar asked as to why the Chanakya University was not given land available next to the Sanskrit University in Magadi.
"Why set up an RSS university on land meant for industries?" he asked.