One would have thought that the media exposé of JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy would invite stinging reactions from opposition parties. Strangely, it was the politicians who chose to maintain an inexplicable silence over the issue, refusing even to give so much as a comment.
On Saturday, television channels had played an audio tape in which the former chief minister was clearly heard demanding Rs 40 crore from an MLC aspirant to nominate him to the upper house of the legislature.
Far from questioning the veracity of the tape, Kumaraswamy had challenged rival parties to raise the issue on the floor of the house, even as he alleged that the current chief minister, Siddaramaiah, too had employed similar tactics during the MLC elections in 2012.
The sizeable media contingent that turned up at the Vidhana Soudha expecting fireworks had to be content with off-the-record statements from senior leaders. Leader of Opposition and former BJP CM, Jagadish Shettar, told reporters tersely, “Ask me anything else.”
Siddaramaiah too refused to react to his bête noire. “Kumaraswamy claims that every party does it. All I can say is that the Congress doesn’t indulge in such things,” was all he had to say.
Even more unlikely, Kumaraswamy found sympathy from TV Mohandas Pai, who said that “Kumaraswamy has been very honest about this issue”. “If citizens and honest businessmen don’t contribute to political parties, they are bound to take funding from crooked politicians and crony capitalists,” he said.
Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde was one of the few voices of dissent.
“Nobody has raised the issue because they are all in it together,” he said.