BJP threatens to release video of CM ‘seeking bribe’
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.