Karnataka Minister Eshwarappa announces resignation as contractor death row snowballs – The Hindu

Karnataka Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, D.K. Shivakumar and workers protest against Minister K.S. Eshwarappa in Bengaluru on April 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN 
As the controversy over the death of a contractor and BJP worker escalated, Karnataka’s Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister and senior BJP leader K.S. Eshwarappa on Thursday announced his decision to step down from the Cabinet. He will tender his resignation on Friday to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
Mr. Eshwarappa was on Wednesday charged with abetment of suicide of Santosh K. Patil — a contractor who had accused him of corruption — at a lodge in Udupi. Hours after the FIR was filed, the Minister had struck a defiant note and said there was no question of his quitting and that he was the victim of a conspiracy.
The death of the contractor had kicked up a political storm with the Opposition Congress launching protests demanding his resignation and arrest. The party had launched a day-and-night dharna and demanded a judicial probe. The family of the deceased too had sought immediate action.
As the situation escalated, it is learned that the BJP high command had advised Mr. Eshwarappa to resign before the visit of party national president J.P. Nadda, who is arriving in Karnataka on Friday evening to take part in the two-day State executive this weekend.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Eshwarappa said at a hurriedly convened press conference in his hometown Shivamogga, “I will submit my resignation tomorrow [on Friday] at Bengaluru to avoid any embarrassment to the party, leaders and the Chief Minister.” .
Responding to queries, Mr. Bommai said Mr. Eshwarappa had decided to resign on moral grounds and insisted that there was no pressure from the high command.
The 36-year-old contractor hailing from Belagavi had ended his life in Udupi after sending a WhatsApp message to his friends in which he had accused Mr. Eshwarappa as being “directly responsible” for his death.
A few weeks ago the contractor had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that he had undertaken contract works to the tune of ₹4 crore in his village based on oral instructions from the Minister. Accusing the Minister of going back on his promise, he had sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in getting his bills cleared.
Responding to queries later, Mr. Bommai said Mr. Eshwarappa had decided to resign on moral grounds and insisted that there was no pressure from the high command.
The 36-year-old contractor hailing from Belagavi had ended his life in Udupi after sending a WhatsApp message to his friends in which he had accused Mr. Eshwarappa as being “directly responsible” for his death. A few weeks ago the contractor had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that he had undertaken contract works to the tune of ₹4 crore in his village based on oral instructions from the Minister. Accusing the Minister of going back on his promise, he had sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in getting his bills cleared.

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Printable version | Jul 19, 2022 2:52:15 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-minister-eshwarappa-announces-resignation/article65321003.ece
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