Will not allow dilution of Lokayukta: Bhardwaj

Bangalore: In a veiled warning to the BJP government, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj today said he would not allow dilution or weakening of Lokayukta and independence of investigating agencies would be maintained.

"Karnataka Lokayukta has rendered an exemplary service and done the state proud … Let me assure you there shall be no dilution or weakening of Lokayukta," he said in his Republic Day address here.

Any attempt to weaken administrative structures and institutions should be avoided, Bhardwaj said, adding attempts should be made to strengthen them.

Bhardwaj`s comments came in the backdrop of a stand-off between him and the government over appointment of former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath as Lokayukta.

The government has kept the post of Lokayuka vacant since September last and has been insisting on the appointment of Bannurmath, whose name Bhardwaj has rejected.
"Society is demanding an environment free from corruption and we have to work to fulfil it," he said.

Without mentioning incidents of church attacks, Bhardwaj said the government should maintain strict vigil on certain fringe elements working overtime to disturb the peace and harmony. "With our collective resolve, we must defeat the designs of such elements," he said.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Opposition Leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah were among those attended the function at the Manekshaw Parade Grounds.

Children from various schools presented an impressive cultural programmes on the occasion.