Bangalore: In a damage-control exercise, ruling
BJP in Karnataka today appealed to Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde
to withdraw his resignation but he refused to budge.
A senior BJP delegation led by state party president K S
Eshwarappa, Home Minister V S Acharya and Law and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar met Hegde and
pressed him to reconsider his decision.
"He (Hegde) said he would pay attention to reconsidering
the resignation", Eshwarappa told reporters after the meeting.
He said Hegde was told that the BJP government would move
strongly against illegal mining in the State and drew
attention to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa`s statement
affirming government`s resolve to stop it.
Yeddyurappa is mulling ordering an inquiry against
illegal mining in the state from 2003, he said.
"We will approach the Centre to stop export of iron ore
from Karnataka," Eshwarappa said.
Hegde said later he was happy that the Chief Minister has
admitted to illegal mining and promised to take action.
The Lokayukta had on many occasions spoken about illegal
mining in the state but he said he took the decision to quit
after deep thought and would not reconsider it.
Hegde said he initially said "no" to the delegation but
when they persisted he told them he would reconsider his
decision only "out of politeness" which in other words meant
Hegde had recently announced his decision to resign with
effect from August 31 accusing the BJP government of being
indifferent towards tackling corruption and was particularly
unhappy about illegal mining.
His resignation has dominated state politics since his
announcement and a united opposition -- the Congress and JDS
-- this week repeatedly attacked the BJP government on the
issue of resignation.
A significant section of the public and intellectuals
have come out in support of Hegde, prompting the BJP to take
the initiative sensing the public mood.
The decision to persuade Hegde was taken at a meeting
senior ministers held at the official residence of Yeddyurappa
yesterday and today, party sources said.