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BJP demands Bhardwaj's recall

J. Balaji
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Parades Karnataka MLAs, asks Pratibha Patil not to impose President's rule

Karnataka BJP MLAs, along with party president Nitin Gadkari, senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and others at the Rashrapati Bhavan after meeting President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday. —Photo: V. Sudershan
Karnataka BJP MLAs, along with party president Nitin Gadkari, senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and others at the Rashrapati Bhavan after meeting President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday. —Photo: V. Sudershan

The battle between Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and the State BJP government, led by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, reached a flash point as party president Nitin Gadkari paraded the BJP MLAs before President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Tuesday and asked her not to impose President's rule in Karnataka.

The leaders wanted the “immediate recall” of Mr. Bhardwaj claiming that he was functioning against the spirit of the Constitution.

The delegation, which included the Chief Minsiter and 114 MLAs of the BJP (some were absent with prior permission), also consisted of party seniors Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, MPs and MLCs.

Later Mr. Gadkari told journalists that Ms. Patil was informed by the delegation that Mr. Bhardwaj's decision recommending President's rule was “undemocratic and unconstitutional and President's rule should not be imposed on the State. We sought protection from the President [against invoking Article 356 of the Constitution] and asked her not to take any action on the recommendation of the Governor.”

The BJP government had the support of 122 MLAs, including Mr. Yeddyurappa and the Speaker. Since the President is the guardian of the Constitution, the BJP wanted to take the issue to her, he said.

Mr. Gadkari said he apprised the President of the Governor's actions and how he had recommended President's rule despite Mr. Yeddyurappa enjoying majority. “Since he has time and again acted against the Constitution he should be called back. We told the President that she should exercise her powers to recall the Governor.”A memorandum presented by the BJP to the President claimed that the “dignity and prestige of the office of the Governor in Karnataka has suffered a great deal.”

Earlier in the day, addressing the MLAs, Mr. Gadkari praised Mr. Yeddyurappa and said the party would emerge “101 per cent” victorious in the battle with Mr. Bhardwaj. “We are a majority government, a popular government ...We will definitely win as we are going through the democratic process,” he said.

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