BJP threat­ens to re­lease video of CM ‘seek­ing bribe’

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - Vikram Gopal [email protected]­dus­tan­

BENGALURU: A day after Kar­nataka chief min­is­ter HD Ku­maraswamy re­leased two au­dio clips pur­port­edly record­ing state BJP chief BS Yed­dyu­rappa at­tempts to poach a Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) MLA, the op­po­si­tion threat­ened to re­lease a 2016 video of Ku­maraswamy al­legedly ask­ing a ticket as­pi­rant to pay him ₹25 crore.

The po­lit­i­cal bat­tle pitch peaked on Fri­day after Ku­maraswamy re­leased the clips hours be­fore pre­sent­ing the sec­ond Bud­get of the eight-month-old Congress-janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) coali­tion. Ear­lier, he ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of be­ing di­rectly in­volved in al­leged at­tempts to desta­bilise the state gov­ern­ment. All the charges were re­futed by Yed­dyu­rappa.

On Satur­day, BJP MLA Arvind Lim­bavali said the chief min­is­ter had stooped low.

“He may re­mem­ber that when MLC elec­tions were held in 2016, he had told Vi­ju­gouda Patil that if he coughed up ₹25 crore, Ku­maraswamy would en­sure he be­came an MLC,” he al­leged.

He claimed the BJP had a video of this con­ver­sa­tion and it would be placed be­fore the Assem­bly when it re­con­venes on Mon­day.

“Let the chief min­is­ter see this and re­spond,” Lim­bavali said.

The claim was backed by Patil, who is now in the BJP. “When I was in the JD(S), I hadn’t asked Ku­maraswamy to make me an MLC. But he him­self told me in front of my sup­port­ers that he would make me an MLC if I paid ₹25 crore,” he al­leged to re­porters in Vi­jaya­pura.

Lim­bavali crit­i­cised Ku­maraswamy for al­legedly drag­ging Speaker KR Ramesh Ku­mar into the po­lit­i­cal tus­sle. This was a ref­er­ence to one of the au­dio clips in which a BJP leader is pur­port­edly heard claim­ing that Ku­mar had been in­flu­enced with the pay­ment of ₹50 crore.

Ku­maraswamy, who vis­ited a tem­ple at Dhara­mas­thala in Dak­shina Kan­nada district, said he was ready to face any in­quiry. He added that de­spite the re­lease of the au­dio clips, the BJP had not stopped at­tempt­ing to woo MLAS from the rul­ing com­bine.

“I had raised it in the House my­self ask­ing for an in­quiry into it long ago. If they want it to be played be­fore the peo­ple once more, let them re­lease it again, I am ready to an­swer,” Ku­maraswamy said.

“Even to­day, an­other MLA was ap­proached by them and they promised him money. They have still not stopped. I have been told by the MLA.”

Speaker Ku­mar said in Ko­lar he would take up a dis­cus­sion on the au­dio clip in the House on Mon­day. “I will re­spond in the House about why my name has been dragged into this,” he said.

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