Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy admitted in the State Legislature on Tuesday that he had asked JD(S) MLA Naganagounda Kandakur’s son, Sharangouda, to meet BJP leaders, including state party chief B S Yeddyurappa, after he was allegedly approached by them.
Accusing the BJP of trying to poach his party MLA, Kumaraswamy released two audio recordings last week, including of a purported conversation between Yeddyurappa, Sharangouda, and a man he identified as BJP MLA Shivanagouda Nayak. The BJP allegedly sought to lure the JD(S) MLA by offering Rs 25 crore and a minister’s post.
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Yeddyurappa on Sunday admitted that he met Sharangouda, and accused Kumaraswamy of sending him to “carry out a sting” on him.
As the House discussed the issue for the second day on Tuesday, Kumaraswamy said: “Yes, he (Sharangouda) called me. Our families have an association that goes back 50 years. Should they not have shown better sense than to try to poach him? Yes, he called me and said he was being called for talks by the BJP. I said go and see what they have to say.”
While Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who has been named in a recording, called for an SIT probe, the BJP has demanded a judicial or house committee probe instead.
“An SIT will work under the CM, we will not agree to the constitution of an SIT. The CM should have advised Sharangouda not to meet the people trying to lure him to the BJP. The CM himself has said that he ordered the sting,” Yeddyurappa told the Assembly. “The CM has created the whole controversy to defame me and has released fake recordings to substantiate his claims,’’ he said.
Yeddyurappa said he met Sharangouda and discussed some issues, but claimed that he did not discuss any money. “If I have said anything about the Speaker, I will quit. When Sharangouda came and spoke, if I have discussed any money, I will quit,’’ he said.
Yeddyurappa said there was infighting within the JD(S)-Congress coalition. But the ruling coalition accused the BJP of spreading rumors of instability.
“Yes, we have differences, but we are trying to sort them out and move forward. This is an experiment. If you think that our infighting will lead to a split in the coalition in three months, why are you involved in attempts to destabilise the coalition government,’’ Kumaraswamy said.