Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah responds to RO’s letter, rejects ‘money deal’ for RS polls

Bengaluru: Amid an uproar over the “sting operation” purportedly showing money deal between MLAs ahead of Rajya Sabha elections, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday refuted charges of assuring increased development funds to legislators in return for their votes.

Siddaramaiah’s reply came in response to a letter by the Assembly Secretary and Returning Officer for the June 11 biennial elections S Murthy, asking him to clarify if he has promised increased development funds to legislators in return for their votes, following a written complaint from JD(S).

The Chief Minister’s office also clarified to the election authorities that apart from routine letters from various MLAs received by the CM, which may be getting processed in the normal course, no specific files are being moved or processed for development works in some of the Independent legislator’s constituency.

The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister has responded to the Returning Officer’s letter.

A similar letter had also been written to two secretaries, including the Finance Secretary, seeking clarification on these activities, Murthy had yesterday said.

Videos of the “sting operations” aired by two private TV news channels on Thursday had purportedly shown MLAs negotiating money deal in exchange for their votes for the Rajya Sabha election.

The footage of “sting operation” by one channel showed a JD(S) MLA purportedly talking about money in crores of rupees for supporting a candidate.

A parallel “sting” operation by another channel showed Congress candidate KC Ramamurthy and Independent MLAs purportedly speaking of getting increased development funds for the constituency from the government in return for votes.

As the ruling Congress was fighting the fallout of the “sting operations”, more controversy followed after several Independent and other MLAs were shepherded to Mumbai on Sunday night in an apparent bid to keep the party’s support in tact.