Karnataka: After denial, B S Yeddyurappa admits he met JD(S) MLA’s son

Karnataka BJP president B S Yeddyurappa (Source: PTI/File)

KARNATAKA BJP president B S Yeddyurappa on Sunday admitted that he had met Sharanagouda Kandakur, son of JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandakur, on the night of February 7 and discussed the possibility of getting his father to join the BJP.

On Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had released an audio recording of a purported conversation between Yeddyurappa and Sharanagouda, in which the BJP leader is allegedly trying to poach the JD(S) MLA with the offer of money and a ministerial berth.

Yeddyurappa had dismissed the audio clip as "fake" and said Kumaraswamy is an "expert in voice recording". He had offered to quit if he was found to be involved in attempts to poach legislators or influence the Assembly Speaker.

But on Sunday, speaking at the party's office in Hubbali, Yeddyurappa said: "Yes, it is true that Sharanagouda came and met me at 12.30 (am) at the circuit house in Devadurga where I was staying and we discussed some things. Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has indulged in third grade politics by sending Sharanagouda to carry out a sting on me."

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Denying any involvement, Kumaraswamy has said that Sharanagouda recorded his conversation with Yeddyurappa and then informed him.

Sharanagouda, who was present at Kumaraswamy's press conference on Friday, had said he recorded the conversation and handed the recording to the Chief Minister. "I was concerned by their efforts to topple the pro-farmer government," he had said.

In the audio clip, Yeddyurappa is purportedly trying to convince Sharanagouda to get his 73-year-old father to quit the JD(S) and join the BJP in the next few days. The MLA's son is purportedly promised a ministerial post and funds for elections by a person who Kumaraswamy identified as Shivanagouda Nayak, BJP's MLA from Devadurga.

"They promised Rs 25 crore and election funds," Kumaraswamy had alleged. He had said such efforts to poach JD(S) MLAs could not have been carried out without the party leadership's sanction.

On Friday, Yeddyurappa had dismissed the recording as fake. "It is a fake audio, I have not met anyone, it is a creation of the government to cover the misdeeds of the coalition. Kumaraswamy is an expert in voice recording and his statements are baseless," he had said.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Sunday that Yeddyurappa should resign immediately, since he had admitted that he was the person in the audio clip.

Meanwhile, Srinivasa Gowda, JD(S) MLA from Kolar region of South Karnataka, on Sunday alleged that BJP leaders had offered him Rs 30 crore to switch sides. He said they had even paid Rs 5 crore as advance, which he returned after informing Kumaraswamy.

With some Congress MLAs defying the party whip and staying away from the Assembly since the start of the Budget Session on Wednesday, the ruling coalition has accused the BJP of trying to poach their MLAs.

In the 224-member Assembly, the Congress-JD(S) alliance has 117 MLAs (without the Speaker), BJP has 104 MLAs, and there are three other MLAs.