Bengaluru, March 22: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on rejected the Opposition's demand for withdrawing the newly formed Anti-Corruption Bureau, maintaining there was no "mala fide" intention to shield the corrupt or to weaken the Lokayukta.
Replying after the BJP and JDS called off their dharna in the well of the House demanding withdrawal of ACB, Siddaramaiah said he was willing to discuss ways to strengthen the Lokayukta institution with the Opposition.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said the ACB should be withdrawn "at any cost" and his party would take the fight to outside the House and announced withdrawal of their protest to facilitate smooth functioning to discuss other "burning" issues like drought situation in the state. JDS member Y S V Dutta said government had claimed that ACB and Lokayukta were existing in parallel in 15 states and it should get the information about it and share it with the Opposition parties.
His party too was calling off the protest to allow discussion on other important issues, he said. The withdrawal of protest was also preceded by Speaker Kagodu Thimappa's appeal to the Opposition parties.
Countering the BJP attack, Siddaramaiah said the police wing in the Lokayukta would also continue and a similar system prevailed in 15 states. "There is no mala fide intention behind our decision. Nor are we trying to shield anyone.
"There is no question of withdrawing the ACB," he said, firmly ruling out stepping back on the issue. Both BJP and JDS members were on dharna when the House was adjourned for the day yesterday.
The two parties allege that the ACB was an attempt to protect the corrupt and "destabilise" the Lokayukta, set up in Karnataka in 1984 during Ramakrishna Hegde's Chief ministership which is considered an exemplary model.