Bengaluru: Notwithstanding the fact that several of its leaders are facing cases before the Lokayukta, the BJP has promised its workers that it will take the fight against CM Siddaramaiah on the issue of weakening Lokayukta by forming the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), to its logical end.
Addressing a protest rally of party workers on Monday, BJP leaders announced that the protest will be intensified after Ugadi. The party is planning to constitute four teams to take the fight against ACB before the public. At the BJP state executive meeting on April 1, the party will discuss this issue and ecide its future course of action, said state BJP president Pralhad Joshi.
The CM is facing land related corruption charges and to save his skin, he has constituted ACB, stripping the Lokayukta of its powers to deal with cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA). Mr Joshi also promised that if the BJP comes to power in 2018, it will scrap the ACB and strengthen the Lokayukta by providing it more powers.
Former chief minister B.S.Yeddyurappa said the decision to form ACB will end the political career of Mr Siddaramaiah. Inspite of opposition from ruling party members, the CM formed the ACB. If he does not revert his decision, people will teach him a lesson, Mr Yeddyurappa said.
Union minister Ananth Kumar, opposition leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar, former DCM R. Ashok, former ministers Suresh Kumar and C.T. Ravi and BJP city MLAs participated.
Mr Joshi alleged that Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had struck a secret pact with Mr Siddaramaiah with regard to the Anwar Manippady report on encroachment of wakf properties.
“Since Congress leaders, including Mr Kharge. are involved in encroachment of wakf properties, he was supporting the CM on the formation of ACB,” Mr Joshi alleged.
Siddaramaiah: No going back on my decision
Despite the uproar it has created, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has ruled out the possibility of reviewing his government’s decision to set up an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Replying to former Minister, Visveshwar Hegde Kageri in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, Mr Siddaramaiah reiterated his claim that the government had not curtailed the powers of the Lokayukta by establishing the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“Why don’t you advise BJP ruled states to merge the ACB with the Lok Pal?” he instead suggested to the opposition. Mr Kageri earlier requested the government to keep the idea of the Anti-Corruption Bureau pending till March 30 when a meeting had been called by the Chief Minister to discuss strengthening of the Lokayukta.
“Please don't be adamant on this. It will turn out to be a curse on this government. Even Congress members themselves are against the move to set up the ACB. This shows how isolated you are on the issue,” he told the Chief Minister.
But dismissing any possibility of the decision on the Anti-Corruption Bureau impacting his government, Mr Siddaramaiah shot back, ‘I am not worried about any curse as I don’t believe in such superstition. There is no question of withdrawing or reviewing the decision to form the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Most people lack information about it. If you feel that we are weakening the Lokayukta by forming the Anti-Corruption Bureau, ask the
Union government to bring the CBI under the Lokpal. And ask the governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan to merge their ACBs with the Lokpal,” he said angrily.
Former Minister Basavaraj Bommai, however, protested that the Chief Minister could not compare his decision with systems operating in other states.
“Karnataka was the first to pass the Lokayukta Act in the country. Even you were part of this decision and it has been performing efficiently. The state’s Lokayukta was a model for the entire country and now you cannot try and follow other models,'' he chided him. The discussion finally ended after Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa intervened to put a stop to it.