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Lokayukta Santosh Hegde flays BJP, says it reneged on electoral promise

Hegde, known for his crusade against corruption and the mining lobby, had yesterday resigned from his post and flayed the ruling BJP for its "indifference" towards Lokayukta.

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Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today slammed the BJP government for reneging on its electoral promise of arming the institution with more powers after chief minister BS Yeddyurappa remained non-committal on the issue.
   
"Why did they (BJP) promise in their election manifesto that they will give more powers (to Lokayukta)," he said.
    
Hegde's statement came after Yeddyurappa told reporters earlier in the day that he could not give any commitment on granting suo motu powers to Lokayukta.
    
"Hegde's resignation was unexpected and unfortunate...It has hurt me also...(But) I cannot commit myself on the matter (granting suo motu powers to Lokayukta). I am not a dictator. We have to weigh pros and cons. It has to be discussed in the cabinet and come to a decision," Yeddyurappa had said.
   
Reacting to the chief minister's comment, Hegde said, "These are only excuses or rather a way of being polite in saying, I will not give it...It means that they do not want to give it."
    
"If they wanted to, the government could have convened a cabinet meeting and passed orders," Hegde told PTI.
    
Hegde, known for his crusade against corruption and the mining lobby, had yesterday resigned from his post and flayed the ruling BJP for its "indifference" towards Lokayukta, meant for redressal of citizens' grievances against government officials.
    
Meanwhile, Hegde's resignation has created a furore in the state with various sections, including politicians and advocates, protesting against the government.
    
A large number of people today thronged the Lokayukta office here and urged Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, to withdraw his resignation.
    
Former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court Rama Jois described Hegde's resignation as "a great setback to the battle against corruption" and urged him to withdraw it.
    
"It is a shameless act on the part of the BJP government. Day in and day out they have been attacking the offices of the governor and the Lokayukta. The resignation by Hegde is a slap on the face of the government," KPCC president RV Deshpande said.
     
Former prime minister HD Devegowda accused the government of engaging in "vulgar" politics for the past two years. "The BJP government has not given powers not only to Lokayukta, but also to the State Human Rights Commission and Backward Classes Commission," he said.
  
A group of advocates gathered in front of Lokayukta office demanding Hegde to withdraw his resignation.
    
Advocates Association president KN Puttegowda said Hegde should continue with his post and appealed to governor HR Bhardwaj not to accept his resignation.
    
A report from Haveri said some advocates staged a 'rasta roko', urging the governor not to accept Hegde's resignation.
    
With the heat generated against the ruling BJP by Hegde's sudden decision to quit, Yeddyurappa said, "I have faced several tests in my political career. This is one more test. I will face it."
    
Yeddyurappa promised to soon appoint Upa (deputy) Lokayukta, a post that has remained vacant for nearly six months, which was one of the issues cited by Hegde for his decision to quit, as it impeded the work of the institution.
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