Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today rejected allegations that a controversial tape supposedly containing a conversation between BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa and the son of a Janata Dal (Secular) legislator is fake. Mimicry is not easy to do, he commented.
The tape has a voice allegedly belonging to Mr Yeddyurappa telling Sharan - the son of JD(S) legislator Naganagouda - that they would be given a large sum of money for helping bring down the coalition government in Karnataka by crossing over to the BJP. The ruling party alleges that the conversation took place on February 7.
The BJP has rejected the charge; Mr Yeddyurappa has said the tape is fabricated and the voices doctored.
In an interaction with NDTV, Mr Kumaraswamy brought up the matter to point at the "futility" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation exercise in 2016. "He said it was to wipe out black money, but then they offered Rs 40-50 crore to each of our MLAs. Where does this money come from, and is it black or white? What was the point of demonetisation, then?" he asked.
The Chief Minister discarded the BJP's allegation that the clip is fake. "Mimicking is not an easy thing to do... anybody who hears the voices in the tape will understand who they belong to. I am open to whatever kind of inquiry they want into the tapes. They may ask their Prime Minister to initiate a probe, so the truth - whatever it may be - can finally come out," he said.
Mr Kumaraswamy said it was he who gave the legislator's son permission to continue negotiating with Mr Yeddyurappa. "By following my instructions, he put his own political career at stake for the sake of my government. I salute him," he said, referring to Sharan as an "intelligent boy".
He said that while the BJP's initial efforts had gone in vain, they were still trying to lure legislators through bribes. "My party is 100% stable. It's as stable as a rock. God is with me, and He will ensure that my government completes its full tenure," Mr Kumaraswamy added.
And what about the occasional jolt the JD(S) gets from its political ally? "I enjoy good relations with most legislators in the Congress," the Chief Minister said. "There are one or two dissatisfied members, but that may just be the case in my party too. I have to control all that."
The tape purportedly had Mr Yeddyurappa saying that the BJP wants to pull in 18 legislators in order to overthrow the Karnataka government, after which 12 would be made ministers and the rest main chair members.
In recent weeks, both the ruling coalition and the BJP have sequestered their lawmakers in resorts, raising speculation of secret negotiations for lawmakers to switch sides. First Mr Yeddyurappa put up all BJP lawmakers at a resort near Delhi. Later, the JD(S) and Congress, worried over lawmakers who went MIA, arranged an extended resort break for their party-men.