Former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) floor leader HD Kumaraswamy has been caught on tape asking for Rs 40 crore from an MLC aspirant who sought his party’s support in the recently concluded elections to the Upper House of the Karnataka legislature.
The audio clip of the conversation between Kumaraswamy and the aspirant from Bijapur, Vijaygouda Patil, which was anonymously released to the media late on Saturday, has been authenticated by Kumaraswamy.
In the clip, the JDS leader is heard saying, “Our MLAs are not in my control. They are already in talks with (CM) Siddaramaiah and have offered to support the Congress candidate for money. You pay the money and I will take care of the rest.”
The conversation is purported to have occurred in Bangalore during a party meet in early June this year. Vijaygouda Patil’s failure to secure the JD(S) nomination is being seen as the motivation behind the expose.
The supporters of Patil are heard saying, “Please make it Rs 10 crore. You and your party will get the support of our swamiji (seer not named).”
Kumaraswamy reacts angrily, “It is not like you want to improve the lot of the people of Bijapur by becoming an MLC. You have done nothing to build the party in Bijapur. No swamiji has ever helped the JD(S)win. Talk business.”
He says, “Each MLA is asking for Rs 1 crore (The party has 40 MLAs). What can they do? They have also borrowed money to win the elections.
They are paying huge interest on those loans … MR Sitaram (independent) and Byrathi Suresh (Congress) also won by paying money two years ago.”
The election of these two leaders in 2012 had generated a lot of controversy in those elections which were marked by massive cross voting by
the BJP and Congress.
Interestingly, Bengaluru-based realtor DU Mallikharjuna, who secured the JD(S) nomination this year, took all the party MLAs for a junket to Sri Lanka to celebrate his victory in the second week of June.
Defending his action Kumaraswamy told HT, “This is the bitter truth of present-day politics. I am not one of those leaders who say one thing on the face and do something else behind the scenes. It is not right to project me as a villain. The other parties have also done the same in these elections. I am ready to respond inside and outside the assembly.”
Audio clip (in Kanada) between HD Kumaraswamy and the MLC aspirant from Bijapur (Credit: Suvarna News 24x7):