The stalemate in both the Houses of the Karnataka legislature continued for the second consecutive day on Wednesday as the Opposition members refused to withdraw their overnight dharna in the wake of the Government not accepting its demand for moving an adjournment motion on the issue of Lokayukta N. Santhosh Hegde resigning in disgust against “non-cooperation” from the Government in the fight against corruption.
The Opposition insisted that it should be allowed to move an adjournment motion, which has got a provision for censuring through voting after the discussion. But the Government maintained that the issue did not warrant such a censured motion and sought that it should be discussed under other form which does not have voting provision. The entire day's official business was crippled due to the stand-off between the ruling and the Opposition parties.
The Legislative Council plunged into a pandemonium when Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa tried to turn the heat on the Opposition and Santosh Hegde by remarking that “the suo motu powers (to act against the corrupt) of the Lokayukta had actually been withdrawn when Justice. Hegde was the Advocate-General and present Janata Dal (Secular) leader M.C. Nanaiah was Law Minister in the then Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde's Government.”
“Those who are now demanding suo motu powers to the Lokayukta are actually responsible for the withdrawal of such powers,” Mr. Yeddyurappa alleged. “You have withdrawn suo motu powers. What moral right you have got to attack us on the issue. What is my crime if the Lokayukta resigns. Have I curtailed his powers,” Mr. Yeddyurappa remarked when the Opposition members refused to end their dharna.
This resulted in a heated exchange of words between the ruling and the Opposition benches besides shouting of slogans.
The Chief Minister launched a scathing attack at the Opposition members and ridiculed them by remarking that: “You (Opposition) do not have any stuff to attack our Government. Hence you have conspired to disrupt the legislature proceedings and prevent discussion on any important issues such as Lokayukta, Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project and floods.”
The Opposition members responded to this by pointing out that it was not a public function to make such an attack at them. In fact Congress member V.R. Sudarshan maintained that the Chief Minister had lost moral right to continue in power after the resignation of the Lokayukta. He challenged Mr. Yeddyurappa to dissolve the Assembly and go before the people to seek a fresh mandate on the Lokayukta issue.
Mr. Yeddyurappa lost his cool and shot back: “You have not understood the verdict of various elections. We will go to polls after three years. But remember that people have already taught you a lesson by defeating you in a series of elections.”
‘Ready for debate'
In the Assembly, Mr Yeddyurappa said: “The government is ready for a detailed debate for any number of days as the resignation by the Lokayukta has hurt the image of the BJP and there is a need for the people to know the truth about the entire episode”.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said illegal mining was going on for the last 10 years and the Government was ready for a new legislation to check looting of natural resources by a few.
Both the Houses were adjourned for the day after a brief adjournment did not help improve things.