Buoyed by the high court verdict upholding disqualification of its 11 rebel MLAs, the BJP today stepped up its attack on Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj, demanding his immediate recall for "illegal and unconstitutional acts" if he does not step down on his own.
"The governor of Karnataka, if he has got any respect for the Constitution and standards in public life, should quit forthwith in the backdrop of the high court verdict," senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.
Naidu said if Bhardwaj did not quit on his own, "the Centre, and the Congress, should immediately recall him if they have any respect for the Constitution and Centre-State relations."
Justice VG Sabhahit, third judge of the high court, had yesterday upheld the disqualification of 11 BJP rebel MLAs, after the matter was referred to him following a split verdict by a division bench on the Speaker's action.
Naidu decried the delay in taking action against the governor, which the BJP had demanded when a party delegation met the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier.
He said the prime minister had assured the delegation that he would look into the matter but no action had been taken, indicating support of the UPA government for "the illegal, unconstitutional and unethical acts of the governor".
"The reference made by the court in its judgement about the letter written by the governor to speaker KG Bopaiah to maintain the configuration (the numerical strength of legislature groups) of the House has proved that Bhardwaj was wrong in making such a suggestion," he said.
The governor had come under attack from the BJP for his actions following withdrawal of support to the Yeddyurappa government by the 11 rebel and five independent MLAs.
Bhardwaj had asked Yeddyurappa to face the floor test for the second time on October 22 after holding the first confidence motion carried by voice vote as unconstitutional.
Naidu questioned the timing of the "selective" IT raids conducted on BJP MLAs and some ministers while the state reeled amid a political crisis and alleged that Congress had "brazenly misused, institutions like CBI, Anti-terrorism squad, governor and IT department to further its political interests."
"BJP has no problem in IT raids conducted on businessmen including on Reddys (mine owners of Bellary and ministers). I am not here to take vakalat on behalf of Janardhana Reddy (tourism minister). But selective searches and the time chosen is objectionable," Naidu said.
"It is a political tax raid. Why similar searches were not conducted on rebel MLAs who travelled to Goa, Chennai, Kochi and Mumbai and also on leaders who paid their bills," Naidu asked.
Naidu asked the Centre to amend the Anti-Defection laws to strengthen it further keeping in view the recent experience on defections.
In the backdrop of the Karnataka high court verdict, he said the law should be explicit that anybody acting against the party outside the party forum, should be liable for action on grounds of defection, he said.
The defectors should not be allowed to contest for six years and anybody resigning from any party also should not be given any position for five years to contain defection, he suggested. PTI