The Congress approached the Supreme Court today over a leaked audio clip in which Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa can be heard saying BJP chief Amit Shah "made arrangements" for the MLAs whose mutiny led to the collapse of the Congress-JDS government in the state earlier this year.
The party believes Mr Yediyurappa's statements indicate the Home Minister was aware of the MLAs' intentions and are, therefore, proof of Operation Lotus - the name given to the alleged courting of opposition MLAs by the BJP. The Congress has asked the court to make the tape part of official court records.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice NV Raman said that the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, would constitute a bench and the issue will be heard tomorrow.
"There is no doubt the Chief Minister and Union Minister plotted to bring the Congress-JDS government down. They used unethical, immoral, corrupt and unconstitutional means to do so. Aren't they accountable?" Dinesh Gundu Rao, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief, said.
In the clip, which has been widely shared on social media, Mr Yediyurappa can be heard asking BJP workers to behave better towards the 17 MLAs whose resignations led to the downfall of the previous government. The Chief Minister can also be heard saying Mr Shah knew about the rebel MLAs' plans.
"I have promised them...we have to live up to our promise. We have to give them these ministries. They have sacrificed for us," Mr Yediyurappa said.
The Congress has reacted strongly to the emergence of the video, calling it "concrete proof" of improper behaviour on the part of the now ruling BJP. A delegation from the party visited Governor Vajubhai Vala on Saturday, demanding Mr Yediyurappa's resignation.
"Aren't they completely violating the tenth schedule? Indulging in unconstitutional methods to being the fall of a government... this must be brought to Supreme Court's notice," Mr Rao added.
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 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 rebel MLAs whose petition challenging the order is pending before the Supreme Court.