During the Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Monday, it was a controversy from Karnataka that took centre stage. The discussion was about the recently released audio clip by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy which allegedly captures BJP Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa offering a bribe to Sharan Gouda, a JD(S) MLA’s son in an attempt to dislodge the Congress-JD(S) coalition in power in the state.
This comes just three days after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy made the explosive reveal in a press conference. Speaking in the House, Congress legislature party leader in the Lok Sabha and Gulbarga MP Mallikarjun Kharge, read out the contents of the tape amidst huge ruckus from the ruling MPs. “In my constituency, BJP State President Yeddyurappa has spoken to the son of the MLA from Gurmitkal, and offered him money and ministerial positions," Kharge said.
Support came from former Prime Minister and Hassan MP HD Devegowda, who claimed that BJP has repeatedly tried to poach MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) in the state. "I request the government that Operation Kamala should not happen in the country. It has happened since 2009. 10 people of Congress and JD(S) resigned and within 24 hours of being made ministers. I am asking for an amendment in Constitution to protect against this," he said, even as BJP MPs rose in uproar.
Responding to the charge, Union Minister and BJP MP from Bengaluru North constituency DV Sadananda Gowda rubbished the allegations and termed the entire audio tape incident as “fake”.
"Inside Congress, there is a big fight. Their MLAs fought each other and one MLA has been hospitalised due to this. They are not able to keep their house in order. These people are doing all these fake activities in Karnataka," Sadananda Gowda retorted.
Earlier in the day too, Congress MPs had protested in front of the Gandhi statue inside the Parliament complex in Delhi against BJP’s alleged involvement in ‘Operation Kamala’ in Karnataka. The demonstration was led by Kharge along with AICC Secretary Karnataka-in-charge KC Venugopal.
“Say no to political horse-trading?”, “Operation Kamala— Death of Constitution” and “White money or black money?” read some of the placards carried by the MPs.
Curiously, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Karnataka on Sunday, took on the coalition government in the state on several matters, kept mum on the audio tape issue.