BJP says stir will continue till Governor quits
Intensifying their anti-Governor campaign, BJP MLAs and MLCs, besides senior leaders, including M Venkaiah Naidu, staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan and courted arrest.
"We will continue our agitation till he (Bhardwaj) leaves Karnataka," state party chief K S Eshwarappa told a meeting of the BJP Legislature Party before the legislators set out to stage the protest against the Governor, whose sanction for prosecution of Chief Minister B S Yeddurappa came as a flash point in the prolonged conflict between him and the government.
He accused Bhardwaj of trying to destablise the BJP government in the company of the Congress and JD-S.
The slogan shouting BJP legislators, carrying placards reading "Governor go back", "Congress agent Bhardwaj down, down" and "Call back governor", were stopped by police present in good strength outside Raj Bhavan.
After raising anti-Governor slogans, the legislators got into police vans and courted arrest even as the Governor left Raj Bhavan minutes before the protest to attend a function.
Unfazed by the stepped up attack by BJP, which yesterday petitioned President Pratibha Patil for his recall, Bhardwaj continued with his barbs against the Yeddyurappa Government, asking the people to save Karnataka from "malpractices".
"We should build a powerful society in Karnataka and save the state from malpractices. Malpractices destroy every system," said Bhardwaj, whose relationship with BJP has been consistently strained since he became Governor.
Speaking at the National Voters Day celebration organised by the State Election Commission here, Bhardwaj, dubbed a Congress agent by the BJP, asserted that he was hundred per cent committed to rule of law.
Earlier, addressing the legislature party meeting here, attended by Naidu and Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa said "massive public" rallies would be held in Hubli (February 2), Belgaum (February 5) and Bangalore (February 7).
He said a rally would also be held here on February 20.
Naidu said while the BJP met President Patil yesterday seeking the Governor`s recall, today it`s the protest outside Raj Bhavan and from tomorrow, the party would go to people`s court.
Slamming Bhardwaj for "fighting from behind the curtains", Naidu asked the Congress to make him "working president of the Congress in Karnataka". "Let`s have an open fight," he said.
"Let`s go to people. People will decide. We have to take it to the people. The agitation must continue. We have to maintain the tempo. People are the ultimate masters," he said.
He flayed the Governor for "calling the Chief Minister a thief." "It`s an insult to the people of Karnataka. The people will not take it lying down."
Yeddyurappa urged the legislators to organise rallies in districts. The Governor`s "insulting remarks cannot be tolerated," he said.
As the BJP and the Governor continued the exchange of words, Congress`s Legal and Human Rights Wing today filed a petition before the Election Commission seeking derecognition of the saffron party in the state for sponsoring a bandh on Saturday.
The confrontation between Bhardwaj and BJP heightened after the Governor ignored a cabinet resolution asking him to drop proceedings on the petition seeking to prosecute the Chief Minister and gave his sanction with BJP crying foul and going all out in its offensive against him.