Bangalore, July 4 (Calcutta Tube) Karnataka Lok Ayukta (ombudsman) N.Santosh Hegde’s decision to withdraw resignation has generally been welcomed by the people, though many are surprised he did so after repeatedly asserting nothing would make him stay back. There are also doubts that he will get the powers he sought.
Opposition parties, however, have begun taking a dig at Hegde for his reason to take back the resignation – the appeal of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani whom he described as a ‘father-figure’ to him.
‘It was the wish of thousands of people in Karnataka that he withdraw the resignation, though he says he has done so because of Advani’s appeal,’ state Janata Dal-Secular chief and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy told reporters in Hubli, about 400 kms from here, Sunday.
K. Harini, a physics teacher in a Bangalore school, said she welcomed Hegde staying on as Lok Ayukta to continue the efforts to curb corruption.
‘That was my wish, like that of many across the state. Hope he will fight to ensure the government keeps its promises to give Lok Ayukta more powers,’ Harini told IANS.
Hegde, a retired Supreme Court judge, announced Saturday that he was withdrawing his resignation following an appeal by Advani, who had assured him that the state BJP government will consider his suggestions to check corruption and also give him the powers he needed.
Hegde quit June 23 saying he was frustrated at government’s indifference to check corruption and ignoring and over-ruling his suggestions and decisions.
He had rejected appeal of Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Home Minister P.Chidambaram, various political parties, organisations, and hundreds of people who had written or met him during the last 10 days.
Even Friday he had turned down appeal of the ruling BJP, whose state chief K.S. Eshwarappa led a team of ministers to meet Hegde for the first time after he quit.
‘While his decision is welcome, it is surprising why Advani waited all these days to appeal to him, though it is possible the senior BJP leader was hoping the state leaders will be able to win over Hegde,’ said Naresh Yadav, a software professional from Haryana.
M. Mallikarjun, a retired history professor, was not happy at Hegde taking back his resignation only the basis of promises. ‘I wish he had stuck to his decision even though it might have been difficult for him to say no to a leader like Advani who has worked with Hegde’s father, the late K.S. Hegde.’
The senior Hegde was an apex court judge who resigned after being superseded for the chief justice of India’s post. He was a vice president of BJP and also served as Lok Sabha speaker.
‘By bowing to Advani, after steadfastly refusing appeals by so many others, Hegde has missed an opportunity to send out a strong message to state governments across the country that institutions like Lok Ayukta need to be given more powers to check growing corruption,’ Mallikarjun contended.