Kannada actor-turned-politician Divya Spandana on Thursday, May 12, joined the ongoing war of words between Congress state chief D K Shivakumar and the party's campaign committee head M B Patil. The verbal duel between Shivakumar and Patil started when the state Congress chief accused the latter of holding a "secret meeting" with the Karnataka Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan allegedly to cover up the police sub-inspector recruitment scam. Divya Spandana, the former MP from Mandya, tweeted on May 11: "People across parties meet each other, go to functions, some even get married into families - I'm surprised @DKShivakumar would say this about @MBPatil who's a staunch congressman. Shouldn't the party be fighting elections as one unit?
Following the tweet, Congress supporters started attacking Divya saying she forgot the person who helped her rise politically in the party. Many of them repeated the allegations levelled in a Sunday Guardian article in June 2019 that she had duped the party of Rs 8 crore. The newspaper founded by former BJP Minister MJ Akbar had written in 2019, soon after the Lok Sabha polls that many in Rahul Gandhi's team had gone incommunicado after polls.
As these allegations resurfaced, Divya rubbished them and asked the party to clear her name. "If there's anyone who gave me opportunities & stood by me it's @RahulGandhi anyone else claiming to have given me opportunities is an opportunist.These opportunists have only backstabbed & tried to suppress me. Everything you see on tv is a farce to conceal their devious mind."
Regarding the duping charge, she said the story was "planted" in Kannada news channels, and she appealed to senior Congress national general secretary KC Venugopal to clarify this in the media during his next visit to Karnataka, saying she cannot live with this abuse and trolling for the rest of her life.
Divya took a dig at Youth Congress Karnataka unit president Mohammed Haris Nalapad, saying the man who himself is out on bail in the case of murderous assault is questioning her integrity.
The PSI exam has been annulled after large-scale corruption charges came to the fore, but the Congress only mounted its attack on the BJP government accusing it of a cover-up. Shivakumar had been targeting Ashwath Narayan, who is also the Ramanagara district-in-charge minister, over the recently unearthed police sub-inspector recruitment scam, alleging that he favoured a relative to get a good score in the exam and get recruited.
In the middle of the row, Shivakumar on Monday charged that Ashwath Narayan struck a deal with Patil, a Congress MLA from Babaleshwar constituency and a former minister, in the secret meeting seeking protection not to raise the PSI scam related issue anymore.
While both the leaders dismissed the allegation, the charges made by Shivakumar raised alarm in the party.
Party leaders are divided on this issue with a section saying that Shivakumar should have avoided dragging Patil in the controversy and settling scores with him when the party is preparing for the assembly elections next year. Patil said he has taken the issue very seriously and would raise it at an appropriate forum.