Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday accused BJP of spreading ‘lies’ over the murder of a panchayat member in Dharwad to tarnish the image of minister Vinay Kulkarni as he was involved in a movement seeking religion tag to the Lingayat community.
His comments came on a day when BJP staged protests in different parts of the state demanding the resignation of Kulkarni and a CBI probe into the case.
Kulkarni is at the forefront of the movement, demanding separate religion tag to dominant Lingayat community, which is considered to be the BJP’s support base in north Karnataka.
“It is a conspiracy by (state BJP President B S) Yeddyurappa and his party to tarnish his (Vinay Kulkarni) image as he is involved in the Lingayat movement. There is nothing against him,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Gadag district.
BJP during the recently concluded Assembly session had raised the issue of “pressure” exerted on the family of Yogish Gowda, who was hacked to death last year, to withdraw the case allegedly at the behest of Kulkarni, a charge denied by him.
Siddaramaiah dismissed allegations that the Adviser to the Home Minister was trying to cover up the issue.
“They (BJP) are just going around spreading lies. BJP people have made spreading lies their profession. They don’t know to speak the truth,” he alleged.
Hitting the streets over the issue, BJP staged demonstrations demanding resignation of Kulkarni.
Yeddyurappa led the brief protest in Vijayapura district and said similar agitation was staged in all districts.
BJP raised the issue in the assembly last week in the backdrop of the family recently claiming that they were being pressurised by a police officer to withdraw the case allegedly at the behest of District in-charge Minister Kulkarni.
The minister has been maintaining that he was in no way connected with the case and the charge was an attempt to malign him.
Meanwhile, an audio clip in which the minister during a telephonic talk purportedly put pressure on the advocate of the victim was also aired by local TV channels.
Kulkarni had denied the charge and said he was not even aware of it (the audio clip).
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