No sooner did Karnataka Governor H.R. Bharadwaj indicate his inclination to sanction criminal prosecution of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on charges of allowing his relatives to acquire huge tracts of land at throwaway prices than the Bharatiya Janata Party jump to the Chief Minister's defence and charge the Governor with acting politically.
Late on Friday evening, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley hurriedly sent word to some journalists that he wanted to address them at his residence. He spoke into television cameras charging the Governor with forgetting the niceties of his constitutional office and acting in a partisan political manner. “He has not forgotten his political leanings…giving sanction for prosecution [of Chief Minister Yeddyurappa] was politically inspired,” was his charge.
While neither he nor party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said one word on the charges against Mr. Yeddyurappa, both accused the Governor of acting in a political manner. “Raj Bhavan has become a place where the Governor is plotting the return to power of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular),” Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged speaking to The Hindu over telephone from Patna.
While Mr. Jaitley was not clear what the BJP's next step would be – he said the Karnataka core committee would meet and then the central party would take a view – what did seem apparent was that the party was certainly not thinking as yet of asking Mr. Yeddyurappa to step down.
Mr. Jaitley's contention was that while a judicial inquiry was on and the Lok Ayukt was seized of the matter – the complaints against the Chief Minister – there was no need for the Governor to act on the basis of complaints by “two individuals.” The BJP has made no rational response to the charge that by keeping the Chief Minister in his seat while those inquiries were being conducted, it would be virtually ensuring that all the available evidence is compromised. Also, while it had demanded resignations of all against whom there were corruption charges, in the case of Mr. Yeddyurappa, party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the party was looking into the complaints and that should be sufficient as the BJP was a responsible party.