Audio Leak Of Karnataka Minister: "We're Managing Government, Not Running It"

Basavaraj Bommai: "We are not running the government, we are just managing it," Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy is heard saying in the audio clip.

Recent months for Mr Bommai have allowed critics to allege that he has lost his grip over the state.

Bengaluru:

A Karnataka minister's comments, leaked to the press early this morning, caused new embarrassment to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who today confirmed that the comments are authentic but taken out of context. "We are not running the government, we are just managing it," Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhuswamy is heard saying in the audio clip.

The law minister later said he was just agreeing with the caller. "The government is running. I simply agreed to what the other on the call said. It was provocation. Just agreed with him saying 'Yes there's no government'," Mr Madhuswamy said.

The comments come amid speculation that Mr Bommai, aged 62, will be replaced mid-term by the BJP on account of growing dissatisfaction with his governance. Five days ago, however, a senior leader said that the BJP will seek another term - the election is due next year with Mr Bommai remaining very much in charge.

That assurance was issued by  BS Yediyurappa, the Lingayat strongman who chose Mr Bommai as his replacement when he had to step down in 2021 for various reasons including his age, dissidence in the party.

Mr Yediyurappa claimed that party boss Amit Shah, whose recent visit to Karnataka scaled up talk of a possible exit for Mr Bommai, had confirmed that the Chief Minister is not in danger of losing his job.

"Everything is good, there's no trouble," the Chief Minister said today. But another senior minister has already called for the law minister's resignation. "I will speak to all concerned, and settle the issue," the Chief Minister said, adding that the damaging comments were made "in the context of the bank demanding interest."

Munirathna, a minister in the government, disagrees. "If he thinks that we are managing, he should step down immediately as the Law Minister of Karnataka. He is a part of the government. He is a part of every cabinet meeting and the decision that's made. If he has made that statement, that means he is also party to it. Being in a ministerial position, it is irresponsible of him to make such a statement," he said.

Recent months for Mr Bommai have allowed critics to allege that he has lost his grip over the state. Communal violence has been erupting in Karnataka and last month, a BJP worker was killed.

After being accused of not doing enough to punish the guilty, Mr Bommai said that "the Yogi Model" could be introduced to handle communal violence in the state, referring to the tough administrative practices of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In July, days before a BJP worker was hacked to death, a Muslim teenager was murdered, after he and a group of youths got into a fight in Karnataka's Dakshin Kannada.

.