The 15-month-old B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka Saturday defeated a no-confidence motion initiated by the Congress. The Opposition party had alleged corruption, mishandling of the Covid-19 situation and law and order incidents which resulted in deaths of five persons in Mangaluru and Bengaluru while bringing in the motion.
The debate on the motion, stretching late into Saturday night, was marked by a heated argument between Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah and the Chief Minister over allegations of corruption by members of Yediyurappa’s family.
Yediyurappa offered to step down if the Congress proved its charges. The opposition party had made the allegations on the basis of a sting operation carried out by a television channel.
Congress’s Siddaramaiah presented a transcript of an audio conversation that discusses alleged payment of bribes by a contractor to a government official. He also presented details of Whatsapp conversations released by the channel on bribes for clearing contracts.
Siddaramaiah said the audio transcript showed someone called Vijayendra (which is the name of the chief minister’s younger son) telling a representative of the channel that a government official had been taking bribes in the name of the Chief Minister.
The Whatsapp conversations discussing payment of various amounts occurred between a contractor and an individual linked to the government, the former chief minister said.
Siddaramaiah demanded Yediyurappa’s resignation and a probe by a judge of the Supreme Court or an SIT monitored by the Karnataka Chief Justice.
“I do not know who is this Vijayendra, and who is this Sashidhar. Let the government conduct an inquiry to find out. Till the inquiry is conducted Yediyurappa should not continue as chief minister,’” said the Leader of the Opposition.
“If you prove these allegations I will quit politics. If these allegations are wrong then you must quit,” the Karnataka chief minister replied.
The opposition Janata Dal (Secular) did not support motion. Several BJP MLAs who did not turn up for the six-day assembly session also attended the discussions on the no confidence motion, resulting in a clear majority for government.
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