Amid reports of several Independent MLAs being flown to Mumbai by ruling Congress to keep its flock intact for Rajya Sabha polls, the Returning Officer has asked Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to clarify if he has promised increased development funds to legislators in return for their votes.
The missive to the chief minister came as the MLAs were reportedly shepherded to Mumbai on Sunday night and kept in a five-star hotel to apparently prevent them from being poached for the June 11 biennial polls to four RS seats from the state.
When asked about the issue, Siddaramaih said, “I don’t know, they may have gone for their personal work, how will I know?”
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To a question if Congress MLA S T Somashekar was with them, he said, “Why can’t Somashekar go along with them? He might also have gone to Bombay. I don’t know anything; no one has spoken to me. Congress MLAs won’t go.”
Meanwhile, a report along with an “unedited copy” of the “sting operation” purportedly showing MLAs negotiating money deal in exchange for their votes has been submitted to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Assembly Secretary and Returning Officer (RO) for the RS polls from Karnataka S Murthy said he has written to Siddaramaih seeking his clarification on the alleged money deal.
He said a similar letter has also been written to other two secretaries, including the Finance Secretary, seeking clarification on these activities.
The letter was shot off by Murthy after he received a written complaint from JD(S).
Replying to a query, Murthy said, “So far the Chief Minister has not replied to my letter.”
“I would sincerely bring to the notice of the ECI, if somebody hands over the footage of the Chief Minister assuring Independent MLAs of allotting Rs 100 crore as constituency development fund,” he said.