Karnataka water resources minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Wednesday resigned as a minister from the BS Yediyurappa's Cabinet after being accused of asking for sexual favours in exchange of a government job from a woman.
This development comes a day after video clips purportedly showing Jarkiholi getting intimate with an unidentified woman were widely aired by Kannada news channels.
"The allegations against me are far from the truth, they have to be investigated at the earliest. Though I'm confident about my innocence, taking moral responsibility I'm resigning my position as the cabinet Minister. I request you to accept it," Jarkiholi said in the letter to the chief minister.
According to sources, Jarkiholi tendered his resignation after directions from the party high command.
Jarkiholi earlier in the day had adopted a defiant stance, as per The Indian Express.
"It is a conspiracy. It is a fake video. Will resign and quit politics if allegations are proven. Don't know this person or who she is, " he claimed in an early reaction to the scandal Wednesday, as per the newspaper.
Police are yet to register a formal case and are verifying the legitimacy of the complaint brought by a social activist, deputy commissioner of police MN Anucheth told The Indian Express.
BJP national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh is said to have communicated the party's decision to the state leadership, keeping in mind Assembly polls in five states as well as panchayat elections in the state.
The allegation, just ahead of the Budget Session of the state legislature starting from Thursday had come as a huge embarrassment to the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government.
Earlier in the day, the Opposition Congress and JD(S) demanded Jarkiholi's immediate resignation.
Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Siddaramaiah earlier in the day said, "If that party (BJP) has shame and if they respect human values, they have to take his resignation. This is national news, if the government has shame it to take his resignation immediately, and immediately FIR has to be registered [sic]."
Dinesh Kallahalli, a social activist had lodged a police complaint against Jarkiholi on Tuesday, accusing him of sexual harassment, and threatening the woman and her family with dire consequences.
Jarkiholi and his brother and MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi have sought an inquiry into the allegations.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, a MLA from Gokak, who was earlier with Congress, was among the chief architects in causing the downfall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government that eventually paved the way for the BJP to come to power.