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Before the Karnataka trust vote: Bluster, deceit and audio tapes

In the tape, released hours ahead of the crucial Karnataka trust vote, Yeddyurappa is allegedly heard speaking to Congress MLA from Hirekerur BC Patil over phone. HT Couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the clip.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 20, 2018 10:23 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Press Trust of India
Yeddyurappa,Karnataka trust vote,Congress
Police personnel maintain vigil outside the Karnataka Vidhana Soudha during a vote of confidence motion against the BS Yeddyurappa's government in Bengaluru on May 19, 2018.(Reuters Photo)

The Congress party on Saturday released a series of audio clips purportedly of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders trying to lure opposition members of the legislative assembly (MLAs ) by offering them money and positions in the government if they defected.

While one clip, allegedly of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy asking Congress MLA Basanagouda Daddal to defect, was released on Friday, four more were made public on Saturday.

The BJP denied the allegations. Hindustan Times couldn’t confirm the authenticity of the tapes.

One of the clips purportedly was the record of a conversation between BS Yeddyurappa’s younger son BY Vijayendra and an unknown Congress MLA’s wife. In the clip, the male voice is heard offering ~15 crore or ~5 crore and a ministerial berth for the leader to vote in favour of the BJP in a trust vote that was to be held on Saturday. Additionally, the person assures the woman, cases pending against her son would be withdrawn.

Another clip was purportedly of a conversation between BJ Puttaswamy, a close aide to Yeddyurappa, and the unidentified woman cited earlier. In that, too, an offer of Rs 15 crore is made for voting for the BJP in the trust motion. Again, an assurance is give that the cases against her son will be taken care of.

TAPE SAGA
Tape 1 Friday
BJP strongman G Janardhana Reddy is purportedly telling newly elected Congress MLA Basanagouda Daddal to defect, and allegedly offering him inducements and positions.
Tape 2 Saturday
BS Yeddyurappa’s younger son BY Vijayendra is purportedly heard talking to unknown Congress MLA’s wife, offering Rs 15 crore or Rs 5 crore and a ministerial berth in return for a vote for the BJP.
Tape 3 Saturday
BJ Puttaswamy , a close aide of Yeddyurappa, can be purportedly heard talking to the unidentified woman in the previous tape, offering ~15 crore.
Tape 4 Saturday
Yeddyurappa is purportedly heard offering a cabinet post to Congress MLA BC Patil in return for his vote.
Tape 5 Saturday
Senior BJP leader B Sriramulu and Muralidhar Rao, the party general secretary in-charge of the state, can be purportedly heard offering BC Patil an offer of Rs 15 crore in return for his
HT couldn’t confirm the authenticity of the tapes. The BJP denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, an audio clip purportedly of Yeddyurappa offering a cabinet post to Congress MLA BC Patil was also released by the party. In the recorded conversation, a person is heard asking Patil to get off the bus in which the Congress MLAs were travelling on one pretext or the other.

“If you do not get off the bus and go to Kochi then we will not be able to do anything,” the person says. Kochi was where the Congress MLAs were supposed to go. When Patil asks what he would get in return for his defection, he is assured of a ministry.

Another audio clip, the Congress alleged, was of Patil speaking to B Sriramulu of the BJP and Muralidhar Rao, the BJP general secretary in-charge of the state. In the clip, Patil purportedly receives an offer of Rs 15 crore in return for his defection.

Union minister Ananth Kumar said the clips were completely fabricated. “The clips are completely false and fabricated by the Congress,” he said outside the Governor’s residence .

Congress leaders in the Vidhana Soudha latched on to Yeddyurappa’s resignation speech, in which he admitted to having spoken to opposition leaders.

“I had asked opposition members to vote according to their conscience. It is true that I called them, it is true that I offered assurances,” he said in the House.

State Congress working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the party would consider all legal options.

“When he has admitted on the floor of the House that he had contacted our MLAs, it shows that the BJP was trying to get them to defect. We will definitely take this up legally,” he said.

First Published: May 19, 2018 15:13 IST