The standoff between Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and the State Government hit a new low on Thursday with the former obliquely referring to the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers as “chor”. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and eight senior Ministers have taken serious exception to it saying that it has deeply hurt Kannadiga pride.
On the sidelines of a programme here, the Governor told presspersons that the BJP's crusade against him, particularly the decision to hold a Statewide protest on January 22, was a case of a thief scolding the police (ulta chor kothwal ko daten). “All these things are part of their politics. It doesn't scare or worry me.” Mr. Bhardwaj also categorically stated that his decision on granting sanction to a request by two advocates to prosecute the Chief Minister and the Home Minister would be announced in two days.
Reacting sharply to the Governor likening the State Cabinet's resolution urging him not to give permission to prosecute the Chief Minister to a “thief scolding the police”, Mr. Yeddyurappa, in a strongly worded letter to the Governor, said, “By stating that the decision of the Cabinet is like a thief giving a complaint against the police, Your Excellency has lowered the dignity of the Chief Minister, the entire Cabinet and thereby the voters of Karnataka. Such repeated statements by you do not inspire any confidence that a decision by you [on sanction of prosecution] would be unbiased, fair and bona fide. On the other hand, it is patently clear that you have adopted a biased attitude. Perhaps, this is in line with your political affiliation and inclination to unduly embarrass the Government.”
The Chief Minister said, “Through this letter I would like to formally record my protest against prejudging the issue and for making completely uncalled for statements which have hurt the entire Cabinet and the people of Karnataka. In view of your continued bias, it will only be appropriate for you to refrain from granting sanction for prosecution.”
A group of eight Ministers — V. S. Acharya, S. Suresh Kumar, R. Ashok, Govind Karjol, C.M. Udasi, Basavaraj Bommai, V. Somanna and M. P. Renukacharya — also hit back at the Governor for his statement and said it was amply evident that the Governor had already decided to give his nod to prosecute the Chief Minister and the Home Minister even before studying the documents submitted by the Government.