Disquiet in Karnataka BJP over minister’s ‘govt not running’ remark

Published on Aug 17, 2022 12:45 AM IST

A phone recording involving law minister JC Madhuswamy saying the regime was “somehow managing” to run its affairs was made public.

Law minister JC Madhuswamy (HT Photo)
Law minister JC Madhuswamy (HT Photo)
By, Bengaluru

The rift within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka came to the fore after a phone recording involving law minister JC Madhuswamy saying the regime was “somehow managing” to run its affairs was made public. Soon after Madhuswamy’s comments came to the fore, his colleagues on Tuesday demanded his resignation. Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, however, tried to do damage control by stating that the comments were made in a “different context”.

Reacting to the incident, Madhuswamy said on Tuesday that he was provoked into making these statements.

“When that person said the government was not running and asked if we were managing, I agreed with him. I am not saying I did not say it. But is it a platform for a minister to talk against the government to some random person? What will he do? Am I mad to tell him that the government is not managing. He provoked me and I responded,” Madhuswamy said.

He added that he will not pursue any legal case for breach of privacy against the caller as his lawyer had advised him to end the matter and not drag it any further.

“If he thinks we are managing, let him resign, he is also a part of the government. He takes part in the cabinet and on all issues. If he gives a statement like this, it applies to him as well. It is wrong to make such statements when in a responsible position,” Munirathna, the minister for Horticulture, Planning programme Monitoring & Statistics Department, said slamming Madhuswamy’s statements.

Madhuswamy also hit out at his cabinet colleagues, stating that they should have reached out to him to check the context of the statement.

“I don’t have to give my resignation to my colleagues. But if the chief minister calls and tells me that my statements have tainted the government and asks me for a resignation, I will gladly give it,” he said.

Madhuswamy said that he convinced the chief minister of his role in the incident and chided his colleagues for not talking to him first before making such statements.

“Why should I react to them?, he said.

The statements have also exposed the rift within the BJP which has battled infighting since it came to power by engineering the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government.

In the 1.13 minute audio conversation, played on loop by news channels, Madhuswamy says; “Government is not running. We do some management (somehow managing).”

“There are just eight months (for elections) and we are just getting by,” Madhuswamy is heard saying while talking to a person claiming to be a farmer from Channapattna.

Following Madhuswamy’s statements the Congress, the principal opposition, attacked the Bommai government.“Circus in Karnataka continues: A Minister tells people that Govt is not working & blames another minister for not listening to people. The accused Minister says that the MI Dept isn’t working too. A 3rd Minister jumps in demands the resignation of his colleague. KUDOS BJP!” Priyank Kharge, Congress legislator and head of the party’s communications wing, said on Twitter.

“A weak kneed CM Bommai & apology of BJP Govt in #karnataka stands exposed for what it is - a sinking ship. Kannadigas are waiting to throw out the BJP Govt,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary incharge of Karnataka said in a Twitter post.

“He (Madhuswamy) said that he spoke to that person but the context was different and there was no need to twist its meaning. He has spoken about some cooperative issue three months ago and everything else was going on without problem,” Bommai said on Wednesday.

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