Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa dared Opposition leaders on Thursday to submit to the Lokayukta or the Karnataka High Court documents to back up their allegation that he and his family members owned ‘benami' property worth of Rs.1,000 crore.
“I will resign within 24 hours if the charges are proved,” he said, speaking at a public function here. He was apparently reacting to the charges levelled against him by Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Revanna.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said people knew “what is right and wrong.” “They have shown us that they are with us” in the recent elections to the zilla and taluk panchayats. “I am sure they will support us even in the next Assembly elections.”
He said the Congress had no experience as an Opposition party. “They have to remain in Opposition for another 15 to 20 years to become an effective Opposition party. We will help them by ensuring that they remain an Opposition party.”
The former BJP president, Rajnath Singh, who is in the city, told journalists that there was no question of protecting Mr. Yeddyurappa facing charges of land scams, and he would quit on his own if the charges were proved, or if a prima facie case was made out.
He made it clear that the BJP high command was not divided over the issue of initiating action against Mr. Yeddyurappa. Two inquiries — one by the Lokayukta and the other by a judicial commission — had been ordered to look into the allegations, Mr. Singh said, and one should await the outcome of these probes before deciding on Mr. Yeddyurappa's resignation.
He said there was no proposal to change the leadership in Karnataka at the present juncture.
Asked whether Governor H.R. Bhardwaj granting permission for prosecution of Mr. Yeddyurappa did not mean there was a prima facie case against him, Mr. Singh said he was surprised that the Governor gave the sanction based on an “ordinary application.”
Asked about the status of the in-house inquiry against Mr. Yeddyurpapa, Mr. Singh claimed that no such in-house inquiry had been ordered. When it was brought to his notice that BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar himself had announced the probe, Mr. Singh said: “Only the party president has powers to order such a probe.”