BJP chief Amit Shah "supervised and made all arrangements" for the Karnataka MLAs who carried out a protracted mutiny that led to the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal Secular government earlier this year, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is heard saying in a leaked audio clip that has embarrassed his administration just as it completed 100 days in power. Asked about his response to the clip, Mr Yediyurappa did not challenge its authenticity and said that he was speaking to BJP workers "in the interest of the party".
In the clip, he is heard asking party workers to behave better with the 17 MLAs of the Congress and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) who resigned from the assembly, bringing down the HD Kumaraswamy government in July this year.
In the clip, shared widely on social media, Mr Yediyurappa says that the BJP national president and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, knew about the plans of the rebel MLAs who camped at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, skipping the floor test despite party whips.
"You do know, don't you, that it wasn't Yediyurappa who made them take this decision. The national president was aware of this and supervised this and made all arrangements. You do know this? You do know, don't you, about the decision of 17 people - they were away in Mumbai for two-three months and were not able to go to their constituencies or see their families. You do know that, don't you?" the Chief Minister is heard saying.
"Unusually, they helped us, who should have been on the opposition for the rest of the term. They helped us become the ruling party. They gave their resignation as MLAs, went to the Supreme Court. Knowing all this - we should stand by them, come what may," he said.
"But none of you has said this. I did not expect this from you. I am sorry. I didn't need to become CM (Chief Minister). I have been CM three or four times. I have seen this. I now feel I have committed a crime by becoming CM after making them have faith in me," Mr Yediyurappa said.
The audio clip has emerged just days after a tape of Congress's Siddaramaiah talking about caste politics with party members made its way to social media.
Asked about the clip, BS Yediyurappa told NDTV on Saturday, "I have discussed in detail in Hubballi about one particular constituency. Those who are responsible workers, they should not speak like that (about rebel MLAs). In the interest of the party they must support everybody. On (November) 3rd, 4th, 5th - after Supreme Court decision - other things will be decided."
The Karnataka Congress attacked the government over the audio clip. Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted:
@bsybjp again confesses about operation Kamala & the immoral defection of @INCIndia MLA's.— ದಿನೇಶ್ ಗುಂಡೂರಾವ್/ Dinesh Gundu Rao (@dineshgrao) November 1, 2019
He also clearly reveals that @AmitShah took care of the defectors for 2.5 months in Mumbai.
What more damning proof required that @BJP4India masterminded this entire operation. pic.twitter.com/Oi1PrbdsSN
The BJP came to power in Karnataka in July this year after 14 Congress, three JDS MLAs and one independent MLA revolted against the 13-month old HD Kumaraswamy government.
The then Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified all the rebel MLAs whose petition challenging the order is pending before the Supreme Court.