Bangalore: The Karnataka Assembly on Wednesday witnessed noisy scenes over ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) attack on Governor HR Bhardwaj for his refusal to appoint the government's choice as the state's new Lokayukta (ombudsman).
Opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular members trooped near the speaker's podium shouting slogans and protesting state BJP chief KS Eshwarappa's statement blaming Bhardwaj for delay in naming the new Loakyukta.
Eshwarappa also accused Bharadwaj of playing politics while occupying a constitutional position.
The ruckus forced Speaker KG Bopaiah to twice adjourn the house and rule that some remarks against Bhardwaj will not go on record.
The government has recommended former Kerala High Court chief justice SR Bannurmath to head the anti-corruption body. Bhardwaj has not accepted the recommendation as Bannurmath is caught in a row for allegedly building a house on a plot of land meant for civic amenities like a park or a community building.
The Lokayukta is headless since Sep 19 when former Supreme Court judge Shivaraj V Patil quit, just 47 days after taking over, following controversy that he owned two house plots from two housing societies in Bangalore. He had succeeded another former Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde Aug 3 as Lokayukta.
Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda asserted in the Assembly on Tuesday that his government had complied with all rules and had also explained to Bhardwaj twice reasons for insisting on Bannurmath's appointment.
"The matter is pending with the governor. There is no delay on the part of my government," Gowda said when JD-S leader HD Revanna sought to move an adjournment motion seeking immediate debate on the issue.
Bhardwaj, talking to reporters on the margins of a function in Bangalore, indicated that he is not ready to appoint Bannurmath in spite of Gowda saying that all clarifications have been given.
"I will not take even a minute to appointment the Lokayukta if a suitable person is recommended," he said.
Unlike in the past when he had made sarcastic comments like "the government can search the Supreme Court website on internet to find a suitable judge", Bhardwaj said he found Gowda's response "to appoint a spotless judge" as the new Lokayukta was encouraging.
Only retired Supreme Court judges or chief justices of high courts can be appointed as Lokayutka. The term of the Lokayukta is for five years.