There is a mysterious Diary in Karnataka politics. It was allegedly first discovered in March 2016 in Karnataka Congress MLC Govindaraju’s house, during a raid conducted by the Income Tax Department officials. A year after its discovery, it kicked up a stir due to the ‘controversial information’ it contained.
At the time the Diary made some noise in political spheres, the Steel Flyover Beda campaign had gathered massive support in Bengaluru.
The BJP claimed that it contained information which implicated CM Siddaramaiah, and that his cronies had paid kickbacks worth Rs 1,000 crore to the Congress high command for the steel flyover project.
The Congress went into damage control mode. It released a video of BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa and Union Minister Ananth Kumar casually talking about receiving kickbacks.
When this backfired, the controversial Diary’s doppelganger was born. This New Diary was produced by the Congress, which claimed that several BJP leaders were paying kickbacks to BJP National leaders.
The Diary v/s New Diary issue simmered down after Karnataka Law Minister turned the attention to the Sahara diaries, in which the Supreme Court had struck down its relevance as evidence in a kickbacks case.
But such are the ways of Karnataka politics that the Diary is making noise once again. This time, in the Karnataka Assembly.
During the Assembly session on Thursday, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar obtained Speaker KB Koliwad’s consent to pose a few questions to Congress leaders regarding the controversial Diary.
“Leaders of the ruling party paid kickbacks for a project which no one wanted. This explains why they were so adamant about going ahead with the project,” Shettar said.
Reacting to this allegation, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra, once again brought up the quashing of the Sahara diaries as evidence.
“Anyone could have written the details in that diary. MLC Govindaraju has said it is not his handwriting. This is just like the Sahara diaries issue. It cannot be considered as evidence of corruption,” Jayachandra said.
This triggered the ire of the BJP’s Diary protectors, who got up from their seats and began shouting “shame, shame” in the well of the Assembly.
Speaker Koliwad, unable to control the ruckus, walked out of the Assembly. At this point, Minister for Women and Child Development, Umashree, argued that the BJP leaders were making baseless allegations, and suggested that they continue the Assembly proceedings and not drag the Diary issue into the Assembly.
The session resumed a few minutes later and order was restored.
But whether the mysterious Diary will make another appearance soon, only its protectors know.