Bangalore, Jan 25 (PTI) Declaring an all-out war againstKarnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj, ruling BJP today announced aseries of public rallies to press for his recall, saying theagitation would continue till he leaves the state.
Intensifying their anti-Governor campaign, BJP MLAs andMLCs, besides senior leaders, including M Venkaiah Naidu,staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan and courted arrest.
"We will continue our agitation till he (Bhardwaj) leavesKarnataka," state party chief K S Eshwarappa told a meeting ofthe BJP Legislature Party before the legislators set out tostage the protest against the Governor, whose sanction forprosecution of Chief Minister B S Yeddurappa came as a flashpoint in the prolonged conflict between him and thegovernment.
He accused Bhardwaj of trying to destablise the BJPgovernment in the company of the Congress and JD-S.
The slogan shouting BJP legislators, carrying placardsreading "Governor go back", "Congress agent Bhardwaj down,down" and "Call back governor", were stopped by police presentin good strength outside Raj Bhavan.
After raising anti-Governor slogans, the legislators gotinto police vans and courted arrest even as the Governor leftRaj Bhavan minutes before the protest to attend a function.
Unfazed by the stepped up attack by BJP, which yesterdaypetitioned President Pratibha Patil for his recall, Bhardwajcontinued with his barbs against the Yeddyurappa Government,asking the people to save Karnataka from "malpractices".
"We should build a powerful society in Karnataka and savethe state from malpractices. Malpractices destroy everysystem," said Bhardwaj, whose relationship with BJP has beenconsistently strained since he became Governor.
Speaking at the National Voters Day celebration organisedby the State Election Commission here, Bhardwaj, dubbed aCongress agent by the BJP, asserted that he was hundred percent committed to rule of law. .
Earlier, addressing the legislature party meeting here, attended by Naidu and Yeddyurappa, Eshwarappa said "massivepublic" rallies would be held in Hubli (February 2), Belgaum(February 5) and Bangalore (February 7).
He said a rally would also be held here on February 20.
Naidu said while the BJP met President Patil yesterdayseeking the Governor''s recall, today it''s the protest outsideRaj Bhavan and from tomorrow, the party would go to people''scourt.
Slamming Bhardwaj for "fighting from behind the curtains",Naidu asked the Congress to make him "working president of theCongress in Karnataka". "Let''s have an open fight," he said.
"Let''s go to people. People will decide. We have to takeit to the people. The agitation must continue. We have tomaintain the tempo. People are the ultimate masters," he said.
He flayed the Governor for "calling the Chief Minister athief." "It''s an insult to the people of Karnataka. The peoplewill not take it lying down."
Yeddyurappa urged the legislators to organise rallies indistricts. The Governor''s "insulting remarks cannot betolerated," he said.
As the BJP and the Governor continued the exchange ofwords, Congress''s Legal and Human Rights Wing today filed apetition before the Election Commission seeking derecognitionof the saffron party in the state for sponsoring a bandh onSaturday.
The confrontation between Bhardwaj and BJP heightenedafter the Governor ignored a cabinet resolution asking him todrop proceedings on the petition seeking to prosecute theChief Minister and gave his sanction with BJP crying foul andgoing all out in its offensive against him.