Bangalore: Unfazed by mounting pressure, a combative Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday asserted he would continue in his post for the remainder of his term, ruling out his resignation in the wake of the Lokayukta report indicting him in the illegal mining scam.

"I am going to continue as Chief Minister for another two years," Yeddyurappa, who appeared relaxed, told reporters in the company of BJP State unit President K S Eshwarappa shortly after the former's arrival from Mauritius where he was on a holiday with his family.

Yeddyurappa's comment came at a time when BJP central leadership said it would take "appropriate action" once the report is submitted to the Government.

Earlier, several loyalist Ministers met Yeddyurappa at the airport and accompanied him to his Race Course residence, where they were also joined by some MLAs.

"We are all together," the Chief Minister, who completed three years in office in May, said.

He said former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy are "very much worried" as their party JDS is "losing their vote-bank" by the day and fear that if the BJP government continued in office, "they will be no more" (a political force).

Yeddyurappa said the Government would give explanation to each issue raised by the Lokayukta once Hegde submitted his report. "I have a lot of respect for the Lokayukta. But so far he has not given the report".

The Lokayukta has said he would submit the report on Wednesday.

The findings of the Lokayukta that the mining scam has caused a loss of Rs 1,800 crore to the state exchequer for 14 months from March 2009 has set off clamour for Yeddyurappa's resignation by the opposition parties.

The leaked Lokayukta report has also indicted four ministers and several others, including former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy.

Probe phone-tapping: CM tells PM

Yeddyurappa also asked the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to form a committee headed by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to probe allegations of phone tapping made by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde.

As the opposition parties piled up pressure demanding his resignation on the issue of Lokayukta's report indicting him in the illegal mining scam and telephone tapping charge,
Yeddyurappa wrote a letter to Singh requesting him to form the committee.

Yeddyurappa has suggested that the committee can nominate former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Devegowda, his son H D Kumaraswamy, Opposition Congress leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, and Hegde as its members, sources close to the Chief Minister said.

Rejecting allegations of phone tapping, Yeddyurappa in his letter has also denied any role in the leakage of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Earlier, on his arrival from a holiday in Mauritius, Yeddyurappa described as "an unpardonable crime" the alleged phone-tapping of Hegde and sought an inquiry into the issue by a Central team and while denying his or his party's hand in it.

He said he was "very much hurt" about the phone-tapping issue and added that had the Lokayukta reported the matter to the Central government, a probe would have taken place by now.

Reacting to Yeddyurappa's remarks, Hegde said he welcomed a probe by a Central team into the telephone-tapping issue.

He said, "That's correct. That should be done. I welcome it".

CM asks Gadkari to appoint panel

Battered by allegations of illegal mining and wire tapping, Karnataka Chief Minister B S
Yeddyurappa asked the BJP central leadership to form a committee to look into the charges against him.

After returning from a vacation, he wrote a letter to party President Nitin Gadkari, requesting him to appoint a committee headed by BJP National General Secretary H N Ananta kumar, who is seen as his rival within the party.

Sources close to the Chief Minister said here that in the letter, Yeddyurappa suggested that Dharmendra Pradhan, another General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka affairs, and senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu, also be made the panel members.

The Committee, Yeddyurappa suggested, could also go into the allegations made against him regarding allotment of land and sites and submit a report to the party within two months.

Sources said Yeddyurappa wants the party to know the truth into the opposition' charges against him and also in the backdrop of demand by some section of his own partymen for action against him.

Sources said Yeddyurappa has not mentioned in his letter that he would not be stepping down. "The issue of resignation or stepping down did not figure in the letter," they said.

Yeddyurappa, who has been indicted by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on illegal mining issue, shot off the missive in the wake of reports that Gadkari has called an emergent meeting at Delhi to discuss the Karnataka political crisis.

JPN/Agencies