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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Karnataka Congress expels media coordinator: Here’s what he is heard saying about Shivakumar in viral video

A viral video shows the party's media coordinator, Saleem, and former MP, V S Ugrappa, whispering to each other right before a press conference on Tuesday about Congress state unit chief, D K Shivakumar.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 13, 2021 7:34:56 pm
Karnataka Congress' media coordinator, Saleem, and former MP, V S Ugrappa. (Twitter/screengrab)

The Karnataka Congress media coordinator has been suspended and a former MP issued a show cause notice after they were caught on camera making serious corruption allegations against state Congress chief D K Shivakumar.

A viral video shows the party’s media coordinator, Saleem, and former MP, V S Ugrappa, whispering to each other right before a press conference on Tuesday. The private conversation could be heard on the microphones placed on the dais.

The conversation purportedly pertained to scams in the irrigation department when Shivakumar was the irrigation minister in the coalition government of Congress- JD(S). Here is what the conversation was about.

Saleem: “Earlier, it was eight per cent (share in contracts). He increased it to 12 per cent. These are all adjustments by DKS. Uppar and G Shankar, the one from Hospet in Ballari, whom you know. Uppar is from Bengaluru.”

Ugrappa: “Uppar is from Vijayapura”

Saleem: “Uppar’s house is right opposite to former Chief Minister S M Krishna’s in Bengaluru.”

Saleem: “It’s (Irrigation) a big scandal. If dug properly, his (D K Shivakumar) role will also come out. You don’t know, sir, the three (contractors) made Rs 50-100 crore. If they had made so much, then guess how much he (Shivakumar) would have made. He is a collection ‘giraaki’ (extortionist).”

Ugrappa: “I don’t know this. We all lobbied to make him (Shivakumar) State president. That’s why I am not saying anything. These are the reasons…”

Saleem: “He (Shivakumar) stammers these days, maybe because of low BP or something else.”

Ugrappa agreed with Saleem, who then wondered whether Shivakumar drinks as he gets emotional these days. The media coordinator then hailed Siddaramaiah for his strong body language, saying, “Siddaramaiah sounds very strict.”

Shivakumar reacted to the video Wednesday, saying their party is a disciplined unit. “This has caused huge embarrassment to the party. The statements which were made were neither connected to the party nor me. It was their internal conversation and I do not deny their words,” he said.

This isn’t the only controversy swirling in Karnataka politics recently. On Wednesday, former chief ministers Siddaramaiah and BS Yediyurappa both strongly denied a claim by third former CM HD Kumaraswamy that the Congress and BJP leaders had held a “secret meeting”. The Janata Dal (Secular) leader alleged that the recent IT raids on an aide of Yediyurappa were triggered by a meeting between the former BJP CM and the former Congress CM.

— with PTI inputs

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