Bengaluru: The BJP in Karnataka was ready to offer Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar a whopping Rs 50 crore for a decision in favour of the saffron party, in case MLAs from the Congress-JD(S) alliance resign to bring the strength of the coalition down, leading to the collapse of the government.
The audio clip released by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy last week took a strange twist on Monday with Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s name creeping into the secretly recorded conversation between BJP state chief and Opposition party leader B S Yeddyurappa and Sharanagouda, the son of JD(S) MLA Naganagowda.
In the audio clip, Yeddyurappa was heard claiming that with a Rs 50 crore offer to the Speaker, he could ”buy” a favourable decision. Kumaraswamy said that during the purported conversation Yeddyurappa had spoken about “Rs 50 crore offer to book” the assembly speaker to give a ruling in favour of MLAs who might resign to help the BJP.
An anguished speaker said he was pained and asked the Chief Minister to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the episode to “establish the truth”. “Won’t take any hasty decision. Constitute an SIT to establish the truth. Give me relief in 15 days,” speaker Ramesh Kumar urged Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy jumped at the offer saying he was also “pained” at the charge against the speaker and accepted his suggestion to form a SIT.
But the BJP members said the probe should be limited to the charge against the speaker as otherwise they had no trust in the government which was likely to misuse the SIT. In the audio clip Yeddyurappa was caught promising Sharanagaouda Rs 25 crore if the MLA switched over to the BJP.
Soon after Kumaraswamy released the audio clip last Friday (Feb 8), Yeddyurappa had denied that he had met Sharanagouda and that the voice was not his. If the audio clip was proved to be right, he would resign from politics within 24 hours, he had challenged.
But two days later, Yeddyurappa sheepishly admitted that the voice in the audio clip released by Kumaraswamy was his and that he did meet Sharanagouda at the inspection bungalow in Devdurg. However, he charged that the MLA”s son met him following direction from chief minister Kumaraswamy.
“He (Sharangouda) recorded the conversation and the audio clip was chopped according to the convenience, leaving out a major portion. Kumaraswamy as a part of conspiracy sent Sharangouda to the inspection bungalow,” said the former CM. He also said, “Kumaraswamy is indulging in thirdgrade politics. He is blackmailing and hatching conspiracies.”