Karnataka in Uproar Over Video of CM ‘Admitting’ to Buying MLAs
Siddaramaiah (L), Yeddyurappa (C) and Kumaraswamy (R).
Siddaramaiah (L), Yeddyurappa (C) and Kumaraswamy (R).(Photo: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Karnataka in Uproar Over Video of CM ‘Admitting’ to Buying MLAs

Even as political parties in the state had started preparing for the crucial bypolls on 5 December, a video has emerged that allegedly shows CM BS Yediyurappa ‘acknowledging’ orchestrating the resignation of the 17 MLAs and toppling the coalition government in the state earlier in July.

In the video posted by Congress Srivatsa, a voice, believed to be that of Yediyurappa can be heard saying that the MLAs were made to resign and housed in Mumbai for 2-3 months, with the knowledge of the BJP’s central leadership. The video was reportedly shot during a meeting of the CM with party members on 26 October.

Opposition leaders from Congress and JD(S) have lashed out in response, by calling the defections ‘unconstitutional’ and “a murder of democracy”. Senior Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao met with Governor Vala and submitted a memorandum.

“One is CM and one is Union HM. Both tried to topple the Constitution. It's a clear murder of democracy. We met the Guv and requested him to dismiss the Karnataka government, bring this to the notice of President Kovind and also take appropriate action against Amit Shah,” Siddaramaiah told mediapersons on Saturday.

Also Read : BJP’s Operation Lotus 3.0 – Karnataka’s Political Crisis Explained

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Reacting to the news, former CM and JD(S) chief HD Kumaraswamy said,”How the BJP misused power and money was exposed yesterday. Now people have to judge them.”

What Happens in the Video?

In the nearly 2-minute long video that is doing the rounds on social media, a voice can be heard speaking but it is not immediately clear who the voice belongs to.

“Everyone knows right, that the decision on the fate of the 17 MLAs was taken by Yediyurppa at the state level. National leaders knew and kept them in Bombay for 2-2.5 months. For nearly 3 months they were kept there, they didn’t come home to see their wife and kids, or pay a visit to their constituencies. This is known right? Whether we win or lose the elections is a different matter, we must put in effort from our side.”
Voice in the viral video

The voice further goes on to note that despite this ‘sacrifice’ by the rebel MLAs, nobody from the party had committed to supporting them ‘come what may’.

“But what if you were in their place? What would you do?” the person goes on to ask.

In another section of the clip, the voice reportedly goes on to note that the expectation of the party was that the rebels would get relief from the SC, in the proceedings currently taking place in the matter of the rebels’ disqualification where they have challenged their resignations.

“We did not speak of the disqualified MLAs till now because we are expecting the Supreme Court judgment. We are expecting they may get relief from the court and they will get a chance to contest,” ANI reported.

Congress to Approach SC

Speaking to the press, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said that it had been established beyond doubt that that BJP was misusing government agencies to poach MLAs.

“I think you are all aware of the latest video of BS Yediyurappa related to poaching of Congress and JD(S) MLAs”. We have always said that BJP is misusing government agencies to poach MLAs, now it’s established beyond doubt. We will approach the SC with the evidence.

The latest controversy does not bode well for the BJP, which was preparing to route the other parties in the all crucial bypolls to 15 constituencies set to take place on 5 December. The Election Commission, had deferred the polls from October to later, as the SC was hearing the MLAs’ disqualification case.

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