Karnataka CM accuses Yeddyurappa of luring JD-S MLA; BJP leader denies

Bengaluru: Releasing a purported audio tape, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday accused BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa of luring a legislator of his ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Yeddyurappa, however, vehemently denied the charge and termed the audio tape fake as its voice was not his.

Quoting Sharanagouda, son of JD-S Gurmitkal legislator Naganagouda Kandakur, Kumaraswamy told reporters here that Yeddyurappa had called the former and asked him to go to Devadurga from Yadgir, which is in the state’s northwest region, about 500 km from Bengaluru.

“Yeddyurappa asked me to leave for Mumbai where his son (B.Y. Vijayendra) was present and would make payment to me. But I told him (Yeddyurappa) that I would consult my father (Kandakur) and get back to him,” Sharanagouda, who was also present with the Chief Minister, told the media.

Playing the audio tape, Sharanagouda said in Kumaraswamy’s presence that Yeddyurappa told him that he had booked the state legislative Assembly Speaker (K.R. Ramesh Kumar) by paying him Rs 50 crore.

“Yeddyurappa told me that he had also booked the legislative Assembly Speaker himself by paying him Rs 50 crore,” he said.

Sharanagouda said JD-S Hassan MLA Preetham Gowda and Devadurga MLA Shivanagouda Naik were also present with him when Yeddyurappa called on him.

“Yeddyurappa also offered me a plum ministerial portfolio if I could convince my father (Kandakur) to switch over to the BJP. ‘Do not worry, BJP National President Amit Shah has even booked Supreme Court judges’,” added Sharangouda, quoting Yeddyurappa again.

Accusing Kumaraswamy of concocting the audio tape to hide his failures and inability to keep the legislators of the ruling allies (JD-S and Congress) together, Yeddurappa told reporters that it was a fake tape as he did not meet anyone.

“This is a drama, enacted by the ruling JD-S alliance, as Kumaraswamy lost the people’s trust and hence had no right to continue in the office,” Yeddurappa said after the unverified tape went public and was played up by local news channels, hours before Kumaraswamy presented the state budget for fiscal 2019-20 in the state legislative Assembly amid ruckus by the BJP members.

Refuting the charge, the former BJP Chief Minister also denied meeting anyone to woo Kandakur.

“I did go to Devadurga recently to visit a temple and returned to Bengaluru without meeting anyone as it was a personal visit,” added Yeddyurappa.

On the charge of paying Rs 50 crore to the Assembly Speaker, Yeddyurappa said he would resign as an MLA and quit politics if the voice in the tape and the charge was proved.

“I will retire from politics if the charge is proved. If I had spoken as heard in the tape about the Speaker and if it is proved… I will resign as an MLA and quit politics,” added Yeddyurappa.