Bangalore, Jul 20: Suspended BJP Legislator G Janardhana Reddy today dared Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to resign and face a CBI inquiry into the Rs 150 crore bribery allegation, even as the Janata Dal (Secular) today hinted of a defamation case against him.
With the Opposition parties grouping together and demanding the resignation of Mr Kumaraswamy in one voice, Mr Reddy accused the Chief Minister of ''shielding corrupt Ministers'' at a press conference in Bellary. ''My statements are not mere allegations, I will produce proof before the CBI if it takes up investigation,'' he said.
He had alleged that Forests Minister C Chennigappa had acted as a frontman for the Chief Minister and involved Home Minister M P Prakash in the mining allegations.
Even as the JD(S) accused the Congress of stage managing the episode, the Congress leaders trooped to the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to Governor T N Chaturvedi, seeking the immediate dismissal of the Government. The Janata Dal (United), All India Progressive Janata Dal, CPI and the Samajwadi Party also joined the Congress in seeking the resignation of Mr Kumaraswamy.
Mr Kumaraswamy had ruled out putting in his papers following the Opposition demand in this regard and said he saw no threat to his Government.
Mr Reddy's outburst in the Legislative Council plunged the State into a political crisis, with the BJP suspending him for violating the party discipline. The Coordination Committee of the coalition Government, which met inconclusively last night in the absence of Mr Kumaraswamy to take stock of the political situation, was meeting again today.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Government was actively considering a defamation suit against Mr Reddy. The MLC said he was also seeking legal opinion to file a defamation suit against Mr Kumaraswamy for calling him mentally unsound. After a hurriedly convened meeting of the JD(S) Legislature Party meeting, JD(S) Spokesperson Y S V Datta told reporters that it was a political controversy to destabilise the coalition Government.
Mr Reddy was being used by the Congress leaders for the purpose, he charged, adding that the JD(S) Legislators were strongly behind Mr Kumaraswamy and reposed faith in his leadership.
Considering the serious nature of the charge, the Communist Party of India (CPI) demanded the immediate resignation of Mr Kumaraswamy.
The JD(U), extending issue-based support to the coalition Government, demanded that Mr Kumaraswamy step down from power to pave way for others to form a non-Congress Government.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party State President S Bangarappa demanded a CBI probe into the issue of illegal mining right from the tenure of the erstwhile Krishna Government.