Bengaluru: Congress leader and water resources minister DK Shivakumar has openly supported Jindal land deal and said that it should be finalised as soon as possible despite protests staged by farmers, opposition parties and members of Congress-JD(S) government.

DK Shivakumar made headlines with his controversial statement. "Do the villagers pay tax? They are busy farming. The ones who pay the tax are businessmen. Those who invest are businessmen. So, we are giving land to those who pay the tax," said Shivakumar.

Karnataka government's decision to give 3,667 acres of land to Jindal Steel also known as JSW has come under criticism not only from farmers, but BJP and some veteran Congress leaders including HK Patil too.

BJP is staging a two-day sit-in protest on June 14 and 15 against the Karnataka government's decision. Currently, Karnataka government has promised to look into the issue and reconsider the offer to Jindal.

Despite opposition, DK Shivakumar has openly said that he supports the decision to offer land to Jindal. If the government does not give opportunity to such companies, how can jobs be generated, he questioned.

Shivakumar also slammed the BJP and said that the initiative to sell land to Jindal was taken during BJP's tenure when Yeddyurappa was the chief minister. They should have protested even then, he said.

Reacting to Karnataka government reconsidering the project, Shivakumar said that reconsidering is not wrong but the government should ensure that businessmen do not go out of the state.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders Yeddyurappa and CT Ravi questioned DK Shivakumar if he has got kickbacks (money) from Jindal.