Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today indicated he would not ask Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde to withdraw his resignation, submitted on Wednesday expressing frustration at the government’s indifference to the anti-corruption panel. Yeddyurappa virtually bid good bye to Hegde saying “I thank him for the good work.
“Now that he has taken a decision, I do not want to embarrass him in any way,” Yeddyurappa said when asked whether he would try to persuade Hegde to take back the resignation.
“Hegde’s resignation is not only unexpected, but an unfortunate event. Its painful for me to know that he has resigned. In my last two years of chief ministership, I have faced several acid tests and this is one such test for me. I have always had good relations with Hegde and never tried to curtail his powers and I am fully happy with his work,” Yeddyurappa said.
Addressing a press conference, the chief minister denied the charge that his government had shown utter disregard to the office of Lokayukta and sought to rebut the charges made by Justice Hegde.
He blamed the delay in appointing Upa Lokayukta on back-to-back elections, which had kept the government occupied. He also pointed out that the Upa Lokayukta post had been left vacant for more than two years in the past, once between January 1991 to February 1992 and second time between April 2002 and December 2004.
Justice Hegde, on Wednesday, had said the delay in appointing a new Upa Lokayukta had let complaints pile up in the office, causing severe inconvenience to people.
On not granting suo moto power, which successive Lokayuktas have demanded repeatedly, Yeddyurappa said the issue had been debated for the last 24 years and no government had been able to go beyond setting up cabinet sub committees to look into it.
“I cannot commit myself on the matter (granting suo moto powers to Lokayukta). I am not a dictator. We have to weigh pros and cons. It has to be discussed in the cabinet before taking a decision,” Yeddyurappa said.
He asked Congress and JD(S) leaders to explain why they could not meet the Lokayukta’s key demand when they were in office.
Yeddyurappa claimed that his government maintained cordial relations with Lokayukta and did not curb any of his powers; instead it granted most of its wishes including filling of 292 posts and sanctioning of 15 per cent additional dearness allowance for police officials attached to the investigation wing, despite financial constraints.
“I have great respect for Lokayukta Justice Hedge. His decision to resign caused me great pain. Karnataka and the country needs honest men like Justice Hegde,” Yeddyurappa said.
The chief minister also said that the issue of his resignation would be debated in the monsoon session of state assembly starting June 28.
Commenting on the completion of two years in office by BJP government, Yeddyurappa said, “We are the first to unveil vision 2020 for the comprehensive development of the state and thereby provide a framework for the entire country. The path we traversed during the last two years has not been smooth. We had to cross many hurdles and face many challenges.”
He said the government is organising a Sadhana Samavesha on June 25 to mark the occasion.
Yeddyurappa also accused the opposition Congress and JDS of not co-operating with the government.
“Whether it is inside the legislature or outside it, the Opposition parties are not performing their duties and cooperating with the government...They are trying to create confusion about the government in the minds of people,” the chief minister said.