Foolish for Congress to Demand My Resignation, Says Yediyurappa after Video on His Role in Karnataka's 'Operation Lotus'
In major embarrassment for the BJP, the clip purportedly showed Yediyurappa admitting to the party having played a role in the operation to bring down the JDS-Congress government in July by getting the coalition MLAs to resign.
File photo of Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa.
Bengaluru: Admitting that it was indeed him speaking in the now-viral audio clip, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said it was "foolish" of the Congress to demand his resignation as well as that of BJP president Amit Shah based on it.
In major embarrassment for the BJP, the clip purportedly showed Yediyurappa admitting to the party having played a role in 'Operation Kamala' to bring down the JDS-Congress government earlier this year by getting the coalition MLAs to resign.
The seven-minute clip is reportedly from Yediyurappa’s address at a party meeting in Hubli. While Yediyurappa appears at the fag end for a couple of seconds, the rest of the clip is mostly the audio of his speech, in which he expresses displeasure at other party members for not heeding to his call of standing by the MLAs who defected.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Yediyurappa clarified that it was in the context of pacifying disgruntled party workers that the statement was made.
"I was in Hubbali, addressing party workers of a particular constituency that would be going to bypolls, to not bring out party differences to the fore, until the Supreme Court gives its verdict in the disqualified MLAs case," he said.
The apex court is likely to take up the case of the disqualified MLAs in the coming week. Whether this submission by the respondents — both the Congress and the JDS — will hold as evidence of horse trading is for the court to decide.
"It doesn't look nice when they (party workers) speak nonsense. It is because of those 17 MLAs resignation that we could form the government, this is known to everybody that they were in Mumbai for 2.5 months, so let us wait for the Supreme Court's decision," said Yediyurappa.
The viral video bolstered the allegations by Congress and JD(S) that the BJP had been conspiring to bring down the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government. The Congress said it will approach the Supreme Court with the “evidence” and has already submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding the dismissal of the Karnataka government as well as asking Shah to resign.
"It is proven beyond doubt that Yediyurappa and Amit Shah engineered the defection of the 17 MLAs violating the provisions of Article 190 and the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. It is murder of democracy and both the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister have no moral right to continue in office," said Congress Legislative Party leader Siddaramaiah.
Congress general secretary organisation KC Venugopal, at a press conference in New Delhi, said, "We kept saying that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the BJP is misusing all the government agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Intelligence Bureau and the CBI to poach the opposition MLAs and to destablise the opposition-led governments."
"Now, there is concrete proof and it is very shocking that he is telling, Yediyuruppa is telling that the Supreme Court may give relief to the defectors and they can contest elections," the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Karnataka said.
"We are expecting that the Supreme Court will view this matter very seriously and they will take action accordingly. The Congress party is anyway approaching the Supreme Court with this latest evidence," Venugopal said, demanding answers from Modi and Shah over the issue.
Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy reiterated his ex-coalition partner's stand, saying it was indeed the BJP's 'Operation Kamala' that had toppled his government in July. "The real developments which took place to remove the government has now come out and is exposed, our advocates will take care of this matter in court," he said.
The JDS leader said he would not be surprised if mid-term polls were necessitated by Feburary 2020; he also expressed faith in the judiciary to take a wise decision in the case of the disqualified MLAs. "In these by-elections, no party can claim that they have an upper hand, people are facing difficult times, we will let them decide," said Kumaraswamy.
Elections to the 15 vacant seats will take place on December 5. The BJP will need to win at least eight of them in order to have a majority and retain power.
Rubbishing all speculation about talks of seeking support from the JDS, a confident Yediyurappa said such a situation would not arise. "We are confident we will win a minimum of 12-13 seats," he said. "Why would we need anyone's help?"
(With inputs from PTI)
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