Kumaraswamy plays audio, alleges Yeddyurappa tried to bribe MLA
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday released an audio clip that he claimed was a conversation of state BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa with the son of a Janata Dal (Secular) MLA to poach the legislator and destabilise the Dal(S)-Congress government in the state.
Yeddyurappa described the clip as 'fake' and a 'concocted story'.
Kumaraswamy dropped the audio tape bomb at a news conference to back his repeated claim about the BJP's alleged attempt to topple his government. He alleged that this was being done with the 'permission' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. 'Without the knowledge of the Prime Minister, is it possible to do all this?' Kumaraswamy asked. 'Modi and Amit Shah are doing all this.'
Kumaraswamy alleged there were two audio clips which had recorded the telephonic conversation between Yeddyurappa and Sharan Gouda, son of Dal(S) lawmaker Naganagouda, whom the BJP was allegedly trying to woo with money and other offers.
Sharan, who was present with the chief minister, spoke about how Yeddyurappa allegedly tried to reach out to him over the phone and asked him to meet him in an attempt to lure his father into the BJP.
Only a part of one unclear audio clip was played at the news conference.
In the clip, a man's voice is heard offering money and a ministerial berth, besides assuring Sharan about 'taking care' of the speaker and the judges in case the anti-defection law is invoked.
Yeddyurappa said he had not met anyone to woo the legislator. Kumaraswamy 'concocted' the story to hide his failures and inability to keep the JD(S) and Congress flock together, he told reporters here. 'It is a fake audio. I have not met anyone.'
Kumaraswamy alleged that during the recorded conversation Yeddyurappa had spoken about a 'Rs 50 crore offer to book' the Assembly Speaker.
Yeddyurappa dismissed the claim, saying: '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.'
Karnataka has been reeling under political turmoil for the past few weeks with both the BJP and the Congress sequestering their MLAs to shield them in a poaching bid.
Both the Congress and the Dal(S) have been accusing the BJP of making 'desperate' attempts to dethrone the Kumaraswamy government with allurement and intimidation to MLAs.
The BJP has denied the charge.
The Congress on Friday also decided to crack the whip and initiate action against four rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law after the legislature party meeting here just before the session commenced its sitting.
Briefing reporters, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said he would meet Assembly speaker Ramesh Kumar and urge him to take action against Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, Mahesh Kumathali and B. Nagendra.
He said barring the four and J.N. Ganesh, all other lawmakers attended the CLP meet.
Two MLAs, Roshan Baig and B.C. Patil, who also did not participate, had taken prior permission, he said.
Ganesh is untraceable after an alleged brawl with a colleague lawmaker at a resort recently.
Siddaramaiah said the four MLAs had sent letters to him, saying they could not attend the entire budget session.