Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday charged the Congress with distorting his statement in a leaked audio clipping on rebel MLAs, even as the opposition party announced state-wide protests over his 'confession' on BJP's involvement in engineering defections.
The Congress also said they would mention the matter before the Supreme Court on Monday. Yediyurappa said those who resigned (disqualified MLAs) had done so for their own reasons and the party did not have anything to do with it.
"What has to be done next our party will decide, our national president will decide- this is what I said, nothing else," Yediyurappa said, defending his statement in the leaked audio tape.
Speaking to reporters here, the Chief Minister denied having said that he would give tickets to those who resigned and said matters were being unnecessarily distorted "to create confusion in the Supreme Court."
"....there is no meaning to it... demanding Amit Shah’s resignation is foolishness. This is false propaganda...people will teach a lesson (to the Congress) in the by-election.”
Yediyurappa said what he had stated in the clipping was that the whole country was aware that the disqualified MLAs were in Mumbai. "What does Amit Shah have to do with it..(distortion of statement) is being done for publicity. I condemn this conduct of Siddaramaiah," he added.
A purported audio clipping of Yediyurappa expressing anguish against leaders at a recent party meeting in Hubballi over their opposition to giving tickets to disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs for the December 5 assembly bypolls in 15 assembly constituencies had surfaced on Friday.
In the audio, he can be heard saying that the rebel Congress JD(S) MLAs, who were later disqualified, were kept in Mumabi during the final days of the coalition government under BJP national President Amit Shah's watch.
He had hit out at party leaders for lack of support in "saving" the BJP government and not recognizing their "sacrifice", behind party coming to power. Following the audio tape release, a Congress delegation, led by Siddaramaiah, had met the Governor on Saturday and submitted a memorandum to the President through him, demanding dismissal of the Yediyurappa led BJP government and removal of Amit Shah from the union council of ministers.
Rejecting Yediyurappas allegations on distortion of his statement,state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao argued that it was BJP's internal meeting and the audio clipping would have been released by someone who attended it.
Noting that Yediyurappa has agreed that it was his voice, Rao said it was clear that it was a 'conspiracy' by him and the union Home Minister to bring down the then coalition government through defections.
"It is clear that this was an anti-constitutional move to pull down the (coalition) government, violating the anti-defection law. They are party to it, it is very clear. So we will mention it in the Supreme Court tomorrow and bring it to the notice of the court and the people," Rao said.
He said no bigger proof was need of the defections than the 'confession' by the Chief Minister himself. He alleged that 'Operation Lotus' (poaching) happened under the leadership of Amit Shah himself, proving that there was a conspiracy to pull down the government "So disqualification was correct," he said.
The resignation and absence of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs from trust vote had lead to the fall of coalition government, and made way for BJP to come to power.
After it fell, the then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified them as MLAs,ruling that those disqualified cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th assembly (in 2023), which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.
The matter is currently being heard by the Apex Court.
Meanwhile,Congress decided to stage protests on the issue at all district headquarters on Monday and submit a memorandum to the President through District Deputy Commissioners to dismiss the BJP government and to drop Home Minister Amit Shah, who it said, is the 'mastermind' from the union cabinet.
BJP state president Kateel charged Siddaramaiah of being involved behind the audio release as he desired to become the Chief Minister.
"It was an internal meeting in which we leaders were there. Others were also there. How can we say it is done by BJP karyakartas? We will inquire into everything and bring out the truth."
Bypolls to 15 out of 17 seats represented by disqualified MLAs will be held on December five. Amid opposition from local party leaders in these 15 constituencies, Yediyurappa had recently assured that tickets would be given to disqualified MLAs if they wished to contest from BJP and had appointed party contenders for the tickets there as heads of boards and corporations.