‘I’ll expose plot’: Karnataka CM’s sharp attack on PM Narendra Modi on alleged horse-trading
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday accused the BJP of trying to dislodge the state government as he released two audio clips purportedly of opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa allegedly poaching JD(S) legislator Naganagouda Kandkur.
The president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit BS Yeddyurappa, on his part, dismissed the audio clips as “fake” and “a concocted story”.
HD Kumaraswamy released the clips at a hurriedly called press conference hours before presenting the state budget in the assembly. Kumaraswamy claimed Yeddyurappa called Naganagouda’s son Sharangouda Kandkur early on Friday attempting to entice his father, who is an MLA from Gurmitkal.
The clips feature conversations allegedly between BS Yeddyurappa and Sharangouda Kandkur. The BJP leader made an offer of Rs 25 crore and a ministerial post for his father, Sharangouda Kandkur has alleged. The other was allegedly between Sharangouda and Pritam Gowda, the BJP MLA from Hassan.
“Is it possible without the knowledge of the Prime Minister?” HD Kumaraswamy asked. “On one side Narendra Modi is preaching to the country and politicians. On the other side, he is encouraging his friends to demolish democracy through black money. I will expose this now, I have the proof to back my charge,” he said.
Sharangouda said he got a call saying Yeddyurappa wanted to talk to him.
“I got three calls. The caller said Yeddyurappa is in Devadurga and asked me to go there. I connected the call to chief minister and he heard everything. I said I would ask my father who is the MLA and call back. I didn’t want to trap anybody but I am close to the Deve Gowda family. Yeddyurappa has spoken to me many times but I didn’t care. But this time I wanted to show my loyalty,” he said.
“At 2am I reached the circuit house. He (Pritam Gowda, Hassan MLA of the BJP) said everything has been approved and there are 12 MLAs. ‘We will help you with election expenditure’. He said all of this. He said we have ‘booked’ the speaker for Rs 50 crore. When I asked him about the Supreme Court, he said (BJP chief) Amit Shah has ‘booked’ them,” he said.
He said BS Yeddyurappa was also present during the meeting. The ruling coalition partners Congress and JD(S) have been accusing the BJP of trying to topple their nine-month-old government with various offers, including bribe in cash and ministerial berths, a charge the opposition party has rejected.
Senior BJP leader Yeddyurappa said, shortly after Kumaraswamy released the audio clips, that he had not met anyone to woo Naganagouda and the charge against him was “far from the truth.”
The BJP leader said he went to Devadurga, where Sharangouda claimed to have met him and recorded the conversation, to visit a temple and flew back to the city.
Yeddyurappa told reporters in the state capital that Kumaraswamy had “concocted” the story to hide his failures and inability to keep the JD(S) and Congress flock together. “It is fake audio... I have not met anyone. Kumaraswamy is trying to hide his failures. This is a drama,” Yeddyurappa said.
He said the HD Kumaraswamy-led government has lost the trust of the people and had “no moral right” to continue in office. “Kumaraswamy himself is a film producer. He is an expert in voice recording... Whatever the charge he has made is baseless,” Yeddyurappa said.
He also dismissed a claim by the chief minister that he had spoken in the audio about a “Rs 50 crore” offer to the assembly speaker. “I will retire from politics if it (the allegation) is proved... If I had spoken like this (about the speaker), if it is proved... I will resign as an MLA and quit politics.”
(With PTI inputs)