Bangalore: BS Yeddyurappa's return to India from his holiday in Mauritius will be a rough landing.
The Karnataka Governor, HR Bhardwaj, has said he will act upon a new report that indicts Mr Yeddyurappa for allowing illegal mining in the state during his term as Chief Minister. Mr Bhardwaj said he's waiting for the report to be delivered to him.
Opposition parties- the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) - have demanded that Mr Yeddyurappa quit as Chief Minister. The BJP, readying to launch an attack over corruption on the UPA in the monsoon session of Parliament, now finds its position considerably weakened.
The Congress immediately seized upon the opportuniy to launch a fresh attack on the BJP. Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said, " BJP was in denial mode for many days. We knew for many months what is happening in Karnataka...It seems that the BJP will have to decide after introspection whether they want to accept the truth. They must take a decision according to the decision of the Lokayukta. I think that some national parties must move away from the amoral, from doublespeak."
The BJP, on shaky ground after the Lokayukta's report, shot back accusing the Congress of double standards. BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy asked the Congress to look into the Delhi Lokayukta's report on chief minister Sheila Dikshit instead of focusing on Karnataka.
The new report on illegal mining is the work of several years of investigation by Justice Santosh Hegde, Karnataka's Lokayukta or ombudsman. Mr Hegde said that the Chief Minister's family has inappropriate links with mining firms. For one, a trust run by Mr Yeddyurappa's family in Shimoga received a 10-crore donation from a mining firm. Also, the Chief Minister's son and son-in-law have sold land near the Bangalore airport to another mining company at 20 times the market price. Mr Hegde says these transactions seem to be some sort of "collateral."
The details will be known once Mr Hegde formally hands over his report to the government - it was leaked earlier this week. Mr Hegde said "outside people" are to blame and that he is confident his phones had been tapped by people "with vested interests."
Mr Bhardwaj, as Governor, has repeatedly been accused by Mr Yeddyurappa's party of acting as an agent of the Congress. Mr Bhardwaj has, on multiple occasions, suggested that it's wrong for Mr Yeddyurappa to continue in office. The Chief Minister has confronted a slew of allegations of corruption, not just over mining but over selling public land at throwaway prices to companies linked to his children and their spouses.
In October 2010, Mr Bhardwaj refused to accept a trust vote won by Mr Yeddyurappa on the grounds that it was a voice-vote. The Chief Minister was forced to then confront two no-confidence votes in four days - a first in India's political history.