A Congress lawmaker from Karnataka has alleged that the video his party cited to allege that the BJP, bent on horse trading, had reached out to his wife, is a fake. In a scathing Facebook post, Shivaram Hebbar, the lawmaker from Yellapur, denounced the "people who brought out the fake audio clip". The post was music to BJP ears, which had been facing Congress allegations of coercion and abduction ahead of its trust vote on Saturday.
- Shivaram Hebbar denounced those "who brought out the fake audio clip"
- The Congress had cited several audio clips
- The voice in the recording, he said, was not his wife's
The Congress cited several audio clips, claiming they were recorded conversations between its new legislators and leaders of the BJP. One of these videos even had the voice of BJP's BS Yeddyurappa, the party claimed.
In the Kannada post, Mr Hebbar wrote that he received "late information that news channels talking of a supposed conversation between my wife and the BJP people". The voice in the recording, he said, was not his wife's and insisted that she has not received any call from BJP leader. "The audio tape is fake. I condemn it," he added.
Mr Ugrappa, who released the tape on Saturday, said it was the result of a sting operation conducted by a media house. "We never claimed the voice of the woman in tape was of Congress MLA Hebbar's wife," he said, adding that the BJP leaders on the other end of the line "believed the fake woman to be Hebbar's wife". The Congress had claimed that during the telephonic conversation, the BJP leaders offered Rs 15 crore to Mr Hebbar's wife in exchange for his support during Saturday's trust vote.
The floor test, which many expected the BJP to lose, eventually, did not happen. BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa announced his resignation in the assembly minutes before it. BJP leaders said the resignation was ordered by its central leadership because they wished to stay away from the "taint" of horse trading in an election year.
The state Congress, busy guarding is lawmakers to prevent and last-minute mishap before the trust vote, is yet to react to Mr Hebbar's post. Not so the BJP.
Enclosing the Facebook post, Amit Malviya, who heads the party's national Information and Technology, cell, tweeted: "Facebook post of Congress MLA Shivram Hebbar from Yellapur, in which he denies his wife ever getting a call from BJP, calls it a fake audio clip... Shame on Congress for brazenly lying, spreading mis-information and media channels for lapping it up. It is all over regional paper."
Till an hour before Saturday's floor test, there was commotion over two Congress lawmakers who did not appear to take oath in the morning. The Congress alleged that they were "held captive" by BJP legislator Somasekhara Reddy, who was also missing.