The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka Thursday evening demanded External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's resignation following the launch of a police probe into his alleged role in illegal mining when he was chief minister in 1999-2004.
"Krishna should resign immediately," the party said in a statement here, pointing out that its first chief minister in the state B.S. Yeddyurappa quit "soon after" the then Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde indicted him in illegal mining.
The demand came within hours of the police attached to Lokayukta registering in Bangalore an FIR (first information report), that marks formal beginning of probe, against Krishna and his two successors N. Dharam Singh, also of the Congress, and H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular.
"Congress should seek Krishna's resignation," state BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Ayanur Manjunath and general secretary Raghunath Malkapure said in the statement.
"Law is catching up with the three former chief ministers and it is time their role in illegal mining in Karnataka is exposed," they said.
Dharam Singh headed the Congress-JD-S coalition in 2004-2006 and Kumaraswamy succeeded him heading the JDS-BJP coalition in 2006-07.
The BJP has been alleging since the illegal mining scandal broke out in 2006 that Krishna, Dharam Singh and Kumaraswamy were mainly responsible for it.
Kumaraswamy has denied any role and blamed Krishna, calling him "pitamaha" (grandfather) of illegal mining in the state.
Krishna, however, has been stoutly denying the allegations and on Thursday he termed these as "unholy attempts" at "character assassination".