BJP shrugs off Yeddy Diaries’ impact on poll prospects

Bengaluru: Dubbing the report in ‘The Caravan’ news magazine based on ‘Yeddy Diaries’ a concoction, a defiant BJP’s Karnataka unit on Saturday accused the Congress of using its dirty tricks department to harm its prospects in the upcoming general elections.

“A desperate Congress is trying to malign our party and state leader B.S. Yeddyurappa by making some fake entries in a fabricated diary proof of corruption against us. Its dirty tricks department is working overtime to have its impact on our poll prospects by planting such stories,” party’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS here.

According to the Delhi-based magazine, Yeddyurappa is alleged to have paid a whopping Rs 1,800 crore to the BJP’s national leaders, including L.K. Advani, Murli Manhoar Joshi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely and Nitin Gadkari as “payoffsa in 2009 when he was the party’s first Chief Minister in the southern state from May 2008 to July 2011.

The report also said the alleged payouts were recorded by Yeddyurappa in a Karnataka state assembly legislator’s 2009 diary, in Kannada, in his own hand.

“The Congress accusation based on the report will have no impact on our poll prospects anywhere in the country, more so in Karnataka, as the people are wiser and will not waste their votes on a party like Congress which has been a den of corruption, as evident from the scams its UPA government was embroiled in for a decade,” Madhsudhan said.

Karnataka will vote in two-phases to elect 14 Lok Sabha members on April 18 and the remaining 14 on April 23. The votes, as in the rest of the country, will be counted on May 23.

The BJP is contesting in all the 28 parliamentary constituencies across the state, while the Congress will be in fray in 20 of them and its coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in the remaining 8 seats as part of a pre-poll alliance.

In the 2014 general elections, the BJP won 17, Congress 9 and JD-S 2. In fact, the Congress tally in the state was the highest though in single digit, accounting for 21 per cent of the total 44 Lok Sabha seats it had won across the country.

Terming the Congress demand for a probe by the newly set-up anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal into the aYeddy Diaries’ as absurd, the spokesman said as the opposition party was bereft of issues for poll campaign, it was mudslinging to divert the people’s attention from governance, performance, leadership, security, growth and a new India Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to build.

“The Congress leaders should realise that in the general elections, people vote to elect a party or a coalition of parties to form a government at the Centre and not in the state. The upcoming election is to re-elect the BJP-led NDA government with Modi as the prime minister again and not Yeddyurappa who is the opposition leader in the state assembly. People want a stable and decisive government, not an unstable one by the corrupt Congress or of unholy coalition parties,” Madhusudhan asserted.

Though the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) clarified on Friday that the entries in the loose papers of the diaries were doubtful as they were not in the original and seized from the premises of the state Congress Minister D. K. Shivakumar when the Income-Tax sleuths raided his residence in Bengaluru in August 2017, the Congress is not ready to admit that its claim and demand for a probe were unjustified.

“What prevented the Congress from seeking an inquiry in Parliament or in the state assembly or law courts since August 2017 when its senior minister (Shivakumar) had such hard evidence against Yeddyurappa on the so-called pay-offs? It clearly shows that the Grand Old Party is afraid of the BJP winning more Lok Sabha seats than in the past, riding on the popularity of Modi and his performance,” Madhusudhan added.

According to the CBDT statement, “when confronted, Shivakumar said it was a copy of a diary written by Yeddyurappa and payments paid on behalf of him to legislators and received from various leaders, MLAs, ministers when they were in power.”

When the tax sleuths asked Yeddyurappa about the contents in the diary, they were told that he was not in the habit of writing a dairy and that the loose sheets in question were not in his handwriting. He denied his handwriting and signatures on the loose sheets and called the entire affair an attempt to tarnish his image.