In a step towards fulfilling one of the major demands of Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, Karnataka government today announced that it would soon appoint a Upa Lokayukta.
“We will be appointing Upa Lokayukta in four or five days,” Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa told the press after he held consultations with floor leaders of both houses of legislature on strengthening the institution of Lokayukta.
The filling up of Upa Lokayukta post which remained vacant since more than seven months after the term of Patri Basanagouda ended, was one of the major issues cited by Mr. Hegde for his resignation, which he has already declared to withdraw following appeals by top BJP leaders.
“I have explained what happened during previous regimes, on the issue of granting more powers to Lokayukta institution, to opposition leaders of both houses and they have also tendered their suggestions on ways to strengthen the institution of Lokayukta,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said.
The issue would also be debated at the Cabinet, he said, but the emergency cabinet meeting held on Wednesday was adjourned abruptly minutes after it started without any discussion.
Mr. Yeddyurappa asked his ministerial colleagues to assemble for an informal discussion at his official chamber in Vidhana Soudha to finalise the government stand on Lokayukta issue to be announced in the legislature on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister is expected to reply to the debate on causes that led to the resignation of Lokayukta on June 23 and also on illegal mining, over which the opposition Congress and JDS have been attacking the government in both houses of legislature.
The meeting of floor leaders was attended by opposition Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, his counterpart in upper house Motamma, JDS leaders M. C. Nanaiah in the council and JDS legislature group leader in the lower house H. D. Revanna.
Minister for Information Katta Subramanya Naidu and Minister for Water Resource Basavaraj Bommai were also present.
“We have given our suggestions. That cannot be disclosed here,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.
The BJP government, after it faced the ire of public and opposition parties in the aftermath of resignation by Mr. Hegde, roped in its top leaders, including L. K. Advani, and party president Nitin Gadkari to persuade the former Supreme Court judge to withdrew his resignation.
On June 3, Mr. Hegde said he had decided to withdraw his resignation respecting the appeals made by Mr. Advani. On the same day Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Yeddyurappa also called on him with a request to continue in the post.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government had agreed to convene meeting if it felt the need for one more round of onsultation.
Mr. Yeddyurappa is likely to announce in the assembly some steps to give more powers to Lokayukta.
Mr. Hegde had already warned that if the government failed to honours its promise of giving more powers, he would quit.