BJP wants Bhardwaj out, seeks President’s intervention

BJP wants Bhardwaj out, seeks President’s intervention

New Delhi/ Bangalore: Intensifying its campaign against Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil demanding his recall on grounds of “unconstitutional conduct", on a day when three more complaints against the state chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa were filed in a special court in Bangalore.

A party delegation led by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani sought Patil’s intervention in recalling the governor, at a time of heightened tension between Bhardwaj and Yeddyurappa after the former granted sanction for prosecuting the chief minister in a corruption case.

The delegation included leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, besides 23 BJP members of Parliament from Karnataka.

“From Day 1, he (Bhardwaj) has been exhibiting extra-constitutional and confrontationist attitude," the BJP stated in its memorandum. Accusing the governor of “partisan" behaviour, the party said he had “converted Raj Bhavan into a political instrument/weapon for harassing the state government".

“Our party delegation went to complain against the partisan, malafide conduct of the governor, who is abusing his position to try and bring the Congress to power in the state through the backdoor," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Meanwhile, there was fresh trouble for Yeddyurappa as three more complaints were filed against him and some of his family members in a special court in Bangalore on Monday alleging corruption in land denotification.

All the five complaints, including the two filed on Saturday, enlist 15 crimes and name 27 people as accused.

The petitions filed by advocates Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj allege illegal transfer of land, abuse of power, criminal conspiracy, cheating and securing land for illegal gain for family members of the chief minister and those associated with him.

Yeddyurappa is named as an accused in all the five complaints.

The chief minister’s sons B.Y. Raghavendra, a Lok Sabha member from Shimoga, and B.Y. Vijayendra, his son-in-law Sohan Kumar, former minister S.N. Krishniah Chetty, Bharati Shetty, a council member, and D. Hemachandra Sagar, an assembly member, are accused as party to corruption in the petitions.

The appeal alleges Yeddyurappa and others made a monetary gain of more than Rs189 crore and caused a loss of at least Rs465 crore to the exchequer.

The two advocates submitted documents running into about 1,700 pages to Bhardwaj on 28 December and claimed the papers established over 100 cases of nepotism, misconduct and corruption by Yeddyurappa, his two sons and a few cabinet colleagues including home minister R. Ashok.

The governor permitted the prosecution of Yeddyurappa based on these private complaints.

Yeddyurappa has stepped up his attack on the governor. “BJP is contemplating filing a defamation suit against the governor," he said.

The chief minister was also at the centre of an internal rebellion in the state unit of the BJP last year.

In November, he narrowly survived at his post as the party’s top leadership decided to let him continue as chief minister ahead of the December-January panchayat elections in the state. PTI contributed to this story.