A controversy has erupted in Karnataka following the emergence of an audio recording linked to Law Minister J C Madhuswamy, who allegedly said the government in the state is not functioning and that the BJP is just managing things until the 2023 Assembly polls.
The purported conversation between Madhuswamy and a social worker, Bhaskar from Channapatna, also indicates differences between senior ministers in running the affairs of the government. The audio clip was posted on social media by the Karnataka unit of the Congress party.
Minister of cooperation S T Somashekhar, who is accused of not working in the interest of farmers during the alleged conversation, told reporters in Mysuru Monday it was wrong of the law minister to talk about his department.
“We can take any action only if there is evidence of wrongdoing. We cannot take action before an inquiry. The government is not crawling as the minister has claimed. Maybe his own department is just drifting along,” said Somashekhar.
“Being a minister, he should not have made such comments. He should resign,” said Horticulture Minister Munirathna and Somashekhar’s close associate.
In the purported conversation, Bhaskar complains about officials of a cooperative bank demanding Rs 1300 to renew loans worth Rs 50,000 taken by farmers across the state.
“I am aware of all these things it has been brought to the notice of Mr. Somashekhar (the co-operative minister) that the funds meant as payment of interest are being gobbled up and that additional payments are being sought. He is not taking any action – what can be done?” Madhuswamy is heard saying in the alleged clip.
“Even I have been forced to pay the additional charges by the bank officials and it is not just farmers. There is no functioning government, we are only managing things and pushing for eight months (when the 2023 state elections are to be held),” the minister adds.
The Congress party has flagged the conversation as an example of the incompetence of the BJP government in Karnataka.
“The negligence of the government, the incompetence of the ministers, and the injustice done to farmers have been revealed by minister Madhuswamy. The BJP government is functioning only as a corruption management service. There is no better evidence of the incompetence of the Bommai government and injustice to farmers,” tweeted the Opposition party.