Karnataka

Eshwarappa quits as Karnataka Minister

K.S. Eshwarappa hands over his resignation letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru on April 15, 2022. 

K.S. Eshwarappa hands over his resignation letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru on April 15, 2022.  | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

After three days of political uncertainty and drama, veteran BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa and Karnataka Minister Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) submitted his resignation on Friday to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai as the controversy over his role in the suicide of a contractor and allegations of corruption snowballed.

As Mr. Eshwarappa submitted his resignation to Mr. Bommai at the latter’s official residence, crowds of his supporters gathered outside and shouted slogans opposing his resignation. They also shouted slogans against Congress leaders who had sought the BJP leader’s resignation over his role in the death of Santosh K. Patil.

Also read | Santosh Patil’s ‘death note’ brings back memories of earlier cases

The Chief Minister will now send Mr. Eshwarappa’s resignation letter to Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot for acceptance. With this resignation, the State Cabinet has five vacancies against a full strength of 34 Ministers.

Mr. Eshwarappa Is the second Minister to resign since 2019 when the BJP government was formed. In March 2021, Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi quit the Ministry headed by B.S. Yediyurappa after his alleged involvement in a sexual harassment case. Mr. Eshwarappa has been charged with abetment to suicide of Patil, a contractor and BJP worker who had accused him of corruption, before allegedly taking his life . 

Earlier in the day, before leaving his constituency, Shivamogga, Mr. Eshwarappa told BJP party workers and supporters that he would emerge unscathed in the probe on corruption charges and become a Minister again. On his way to Bengaluru, he visited a prominent Lingayat Mutt, Sri Siddaganga Mutt, in Tumakuru.

On his decision to quit, Mr Eshwarappa said, “BJP central leaders must feel that I have set a new benchmark in the party to ensure that leaders with any taint will not continue in power.” He, however, maintained that the allegations against him were far from the truth and urged the Chief Minister to order a thorough probe into the matter.

However, Mr. Eshwarappa is said to have stepped down under pressure from the BJP central leadership to avert any embarrassment to the party on the eve of party president J.P. Nadda’s visit to Karnataka to take part in the two-day State executive committee meeting.

Editorial | Overdue: On Eshwarappa’s resignation

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Mr. Eshwarappa resigned on his own. “Eshwarappa is confident of coming out clean from the allegations,” he said.

Video | Karnataka CM on suicide by contractor who accused RDPR Minister K S Eshwarappa of corruption

The Opposition Congress which has vociferously demanded the Minister’s resignation, has announced State-wide protests on Saturday calling for the arrest of Mr Eshwarappa. On Thursday and Friday, senior leaders of the party held dharnas at the State Secretariat and demanded a judicial probe.

Also read | Eshwarappa’s arrest at discretion of police: Karnataka CM

Mr. Bommai countered allegations from Congress leaders and said that there was no need for Opposition leaders to “become investigation officers, judges, and prosecutors in the case.” There will be an open inquiry and the truth will come out, the Chief Minister said. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa also said he was confident of Mr. Eshwarappa becoming a Minister again.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 6:14:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/eshwarappa-quits-as-karnataka-minister-three-day-drama-ends/article65324566.ece