Karnataka’s ruling Congress has decided to approach the Income Tax Department and the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau to probe allegations that the Bharatiya Janata Party has offered money to some of its legislators in a bid to topple its alliance government with the Janata Dal (Secular).
Addressing the press on Friday, home minister G Parameshwara said the decision was taken based on media reports that legislators belonging to the Congress had been approached by the BJP in a bid to get them to switch loyalties.
“We discussed the developments in state politics,” Parameshwara said after holding a meeting with irrigation minister and Congress strongman DK Shivakumar. “The media has been reporting that money has been offered to some of our leaders. So, we have decided to file a complaint with the I-T Department and the ACB,” he said.
Parameshwara said he was surprised by the reports and, hence, wanted the matter probed, because these were matters related to money being offered. “They can check based on the complaint,” he said, adding that the decision was based on media reports. “This is a complaint the Congress is filing, not the state government,” he said.
Over the past two weeks, discontent had come out in the open in the party’s Belagavi district unit, sparking the latest round of speculation that some MLAs were unhappy with the government and had been in touch with the BJP.
The fight had begun over disagreements to elections of a cooperative bank in the district, with the influential Jarkiholi brothers expressing anger against MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar, who is also the chief of the women’s wing of the party, for allegedly challenging their hold over the district.
Several rounds of parleys have been held to placate state minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and his younger brother and Congress MLA Satish, both of whom had publicly aired differences with some leaders in the party, especially Shivakumar.
Addressing these differences, Parameshwara said matters were blown out of proportion. “I have clarified previously, too, that there is no threat to the government and I repeat that now,” he said. Ramesh Jarkiholi was not available for comment.
Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, too, criticised the BJP saying he was aware of the developments. “I know who the kingpins are, who are collecting money for this. Will I be quiet? I know the background of the people trying to topple the government,” he said.
The Janata Dal (Secular) leader said the Jarkiholis were in touch with him. “Let them ready a resort or whatever else, I know how to ensure that the government remains strong and united,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, rubbished the allegations saying it was ready to face any probe. “Neither does the BJP have any interest or inclination to any such thing,” said S Prakash, the party’s state spokesperson.
“These are false allegations being leveled against the BJP to divert attention away from the failure of the parties to control their own MLAs,” he said.
First Published: Sep 14, 2018 17:04 IST