New Delhi: Galloping forward on its horse-trading allegation on Friday evening, the Congress party released an audio clip which purportedly reveals how BJP's Janardhana Reddy attempted to lure Basanagouda Daddal to break ranks with Congress.
A day before BJP's BS Yeddyurappa attempts to pass a floor test to show he has the numbers needed to continue as CM, Congress released the clip and alleged that BJP is repeatedly offering money to its MLAs in Karnataka in order for it to make up its deficit - a charge BJP has vehemently denied.
The audio clip though has still been brandished as a weapon by Congress. In it, a man suspected to be Reddy is heard telling another man believed to be Daddal that the national president of BJP will speak to him personally and that Daddal should put past animosity aside.
Transcript of the conversation - which Zee News cannot independently verify or vouch for - is as follows:
Man 1: Is it Basanagouda? Are you free?
Man 2: Yes it is me.
Man 1: Forget all that has happened before, forget all the bad things. I am telling you, that my good time has begun. And I will arrange a meeting with the national president and you can speak to hijm one-to-one and we can take the enxt step.
Man 2: No sir, when I was on my last leg they made me MLA.
Man 1: I will tell you one thing. BSR time we had very bad time when we formed the party, where there was a lot of opposition. There is no doubting that you have lost a lot by believing in us. But I am telling you, you will grow a 100 times more. Shivanagouda nayak became a minister because of me. Today he is strong and able to look after himself. It all happened because of me. Raju Gowda also benefitted because of me.
Man 2: Yes.
Man 1: It was your misfortune that it was our bad time. Today Shivanagouda winning is not useful. You will become minister. Did you understand? Directly we will make you meet the big man. I will make you speak to him... you will make 100 times the wealth you made so far.
Man 2: I am sorry sir. I was on my last leg when they gave me a ticket and made me win. In such a situation I cannot betray him. I respect you.
BJP has come out all guns blazing to deny any wrongdoing. "This audio CD is one of the handiworks of Congress' dirty tricks department. This is a fake CD," Prakash Javadekar told mediapersons. While denying the authenticity of the clip, Yeddyurappa - who took oath as CM on Thursday - also expressed confidence about the floor test scheduled for a day later. "Of course they are with us, if the MLAs from Congress and JD(S) don't support us, how can we prove majority? We will win the floor test 101%," he told news agency ANI.
That did not stop Congress from filing a complaint against Reddy.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) filed complained & demanded action against BJP's Janardhan Reddy for offering hundreds of crore rupees & a minister portfolio to Raichur rural MLA Basvanagowda Daddal through telephone
— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2018
Meanwhile, on a day when Congress claimed victory after Supreme Court reduced time given to Yeddyurappa to prove majority from 15 days to 24 hours, the party had to go back knocking on the doors of the apex court because Governor Vajubhai Vala nominated three-time BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the Protem Speaker for Saturday's floor-test. Congress said the Governor did not follow the norm of nominating the senior-most MLA and said 'he is continuing to assault democracy.' It is Vala who had invited Yeddyurappa to take oath despite Congress-JDS combine having together crossed the majority mark.
Supreme Court will hear the Congress' plea at 1030hrs on Saturday. Yeddyurappa will have to prove majority just hours later - at 1600hrs.