A combative BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday ruled out his resignation over the grant of sanction for his prosecution by Governor HR Bhardwaj, as BJP enforced a bandh in Karnataka against his action following which a criminal complaint was filed against the Chief Minister.
Coming under attack from BJP, the Governor justified his action saying there was a "prima facie" case against the chief minister in the petition filed by two lawyers in alleged land scams and corruption charges.
The Governor's action also fuelled a political slugfest between the Congress and BJP.
Stung by the Governor's action which raised the political temperature, BJP activists took to the streets during the day-long bandh called by the ruling party but it passed off peacefully barring some minor incidents of stone pelting.
Yeddyurappa joined by party President Nitin Gadkari and other leaders launched a no-holds barred attack against Bhardwaj, accusing him of being a "political agent" of UPA working on the directives of the Congress trying to destablise his government. Congress on its part said the Governor had the authority and his action was within the law.
"Why should I quit," Yeddyurappa shot back at a press conference.
"If somebody gives a complaint (against a Chief Minister) in India.... has anybody in the history of any state or India resigned. Why should I," he said, asserting that he would prove his innocence '100 per cent' by fighting "politically and legally" the challenge thrown up by the Governor's sanction.
Yeddyurappa parried a question over Lalu Prasad Yadav's resignation from the post of Chief Minister in Bihar after a case of corruption in fodder scam was filed against him and faced a threat of arrest.
Responding to BJP's all-out attack calling his action malafide, an unperturbed Bhardwaj stood his ground saying a prima-facie case was made out in the complaints filed by two lawyers against the Chief Minister.
"A prima-facie is made out for according sanction for prosecution under section 19 (1) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and Under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973, after going through the substance of allegations and the supporting documents as well as the legal position," he said in a lengthy communique explaining his action.
In a related development, one of the complainant lawyers filed a private complaint in a city court for Yeddyurappa's prosecution. The matter would come up for hearing on Jan 24.
The complaint listed out six offences, four more complaints listing 12 more charges would be filed on Monday before the court, C H Hanumantha Raya, senior counsel for the two lawyers, told PTI.
Striking an aggressive posture, Yeddyurappa dubbed the Governor's action as "unconstitutional" and "malafide" and alleged Bhardwaj took the decision in collusion with opposition Congress and JDS.
Describing Bhardwaj as an "individual with political ambition", Yeddyurappa charged the Governor with lowering the "dignity" of the office, over-reaching his Constitutional role, discharging his duties unbecoming of his office and "acting in a hasty manner".
The BJP also demanded an immediate recall of Bhardwaj.
The day began with high drama as ten ministers marched to the Raj Bhavan demanding from the Governor a copy of his sanction order following which it reached the Chief Minister's office.
BJP also appeared to brace for a legal battle with Law Minister Suresh Kumar saying the Chief Minister was likely to move the High Court on January 24 challenging Bhardwaj's sanction.
Seeking to invoke the 'pride' of Karnataka, Yeddyurappa accused Bhardwaj of having hurt the sentiments of the people of the state by his remarks against his government.
"The Governor calling the Chief Minister of the State as a thief complaining against the police has hurt the sentiments of the people and the pride of Karnataka", he said, adding the people have given vent to their "pent-up feelings" against him by observing the bandh on Saturday.
Ever since he became the Governor, Bhardwaj didn't offer one good suggestion for the development of the State; he always tried to embarrass the Government, corner it, behaved "irresponsibly" and "repeatedly raised issues of insignificance", Yeddyurappa alleged.
The day-long bandh passed off peacefully barring minor incidents of stone-pelting and arson.
Two state transport corporation buses were set ablaze last night at Honnali in Davanagere district and at least about 70 vehicles, including some buses damaged in stone-pelting in parts of the state, ADGP (Law & Order) AR Infant told PTI.
"The bandh was by and large peaceful. About 500 people were taken into custody at various places", he said.