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Not My Wife, Says Congress MLA as Mystery Builds Up Over Woman’s Voice in ‘BJP Bribery’ Audio

In the clip, a BJP leader is allegedly heard offering Rs 15 crore to Congress MLA Shivaram Hebbar to switch to the BJP and abstain from voting during the floor test.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:May 21, 2018, 2:00 PM IST
Bengaluru: In the run-up to BS Yeddyurappa’s resignation, the Congress released a number of audio clips, alleging that these were recorded phone conversations of the BJP offering bribes to MLAs to switch sides.

One such audio clip has now created confusion between the Congress and its Yellapur MLA Shivaram Hebbar. In the clip, a BJP leader is allegedly heard offering Rs 15 crore for Hebbar to switch to the BJP and abstain from voting during Saturday's floor test, which eventually did not take place.

Taking to Facebook, Hebbar said a woman heard in the clip was not his wife Vanajakshi. Hebbar added that neither he nor his wife was approached.

The party, however, said it was never claimed that the female voice was that of Hebbar’s wife.

“It is the voice of a lady who did a sting operation. It was a lady who agrees with our democratic principles and when she was offered money, she shared that audio with us. The fact is that we tried to entrap many BJP leaders who were trying to carry out hectic negotiations to win over our MLAs,” Congress MLC and spokesperson VS Ugrappa told News18.

“Since the time given for the floor test was reduced from 15 days to just 24 hours, the BJP leaders were so desperate that they were willing to do business with anyone who claimed to be talking on behalf of any Congress MLA,” he said.

Ugrappa said it does not matter who the lady is and sought to know the identity of the person offering the money. "He offered Rs 15 crore to jump ship or Rs 5 crore plus a Cabinet berth.”

The Congress claims to have at least 20 such audio clips of BJP leaders, including BS Yeddyurappa and Janardhana Reddy, allegedly trying to poach its MLAs.

The explosive claims plus the inability to shore up numbers in the Assembly led to Yeddyurappa resigning before the trust vote on Saturday. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy is now set to take oath as CM on Wednesday with the backing of the Congress.

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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