Siddaramaiah alleges BJP offering Rs 50 crore to lure Congress MLAs in Karnataka; BS Yeddyurappa dares him to provide evidence

  • Two ministers in the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet alleged BJP was still making attempts to poach Congress and JD(S) MLAs

  • Earlier, reports said that disgruntled Congress MLAs might stay away from the budget session of the Assembly thereby posing a threat to the 8-month-old HD Kumaraswamy govt

  • Senior BJP leader R Ashoka had last week claimed that 20 to 25 disgruntled MLAs of the ruling alliance were out of the reach of their leaders

  • Siddaramaiah Monday alleged BJP was offering Rs 50 crore each to Congress MLAs as part of its bid to topple the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka

  • BS Yeddyurappa had dared Siddaramaiah to provide evidence and said there was no need for the BJP to pull down the govt, as the coalition partners were themselves restive

Bengaluru: Former chief minister Siddaramaiah Monday alleged BJP was offering Rs 50 crore each to Congress MLAs as part of its bid to topple the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka but asserted none of them would fall for it.

Separately, two ministers in the HD Kumaraswamy cabinet alleged BJP was still making attempts to poach Congress and JD(S) MLAs while claiming that a few saffron party legislators were in touch with the coalition partners.

Rejecting Siddaramaiah's claim, BJP hit back saying the coalition government should focus on the administration of the state instead of hurling charges.

 Siddaramaiah alleges BJP offering Rs 50 crore to lure Congress MLAs in Karnataka; BS Yeddyurappa dares him to provide evidence

File image of Siddaramaiah and BS Yeddyurappa. Getty images and PTI

The claims by the ruling side came amid reports that disgruntled Congress MLAs might stay away from the coming budget session of the Assembly thereby posing a threat to the eight-month-old Kumaraswamy government.

Senior BJP leader R Ashoka had last week claimed that 20 to 25 disgruntled MLAs of the ruling alliance were out of the reach of their leaders.

The saffron party on Sunday had said it was not averse to moving a no-confidence motion during the budget session commencing on 6 February.

Siddaramaiah said: "They (BJP) are under some illusion of power. They are offering Rs 50 crore (to Congress MLAs). They huddled their 104 MLAs in a seven-star hotel in Haryana for a week.

"How much it will be if each of the 20 MLAs get Rs 50 crore? It is Rs 1,000 crore. From where they got so much of money?" he said while speaking to reporters at Koppal

He alleged the BJP wants to 'buy' 20 Congress MLAs and said none would fall for it even if offered Rs 100 crore.

Rejecting the charge, BJP spokesperson and state general secretary N Ravi Kumar said his party was not trying to dislodge the government.

We are not trying to pull down the government. Let them table the budget and run the government. We are playing the role of constructive opposition," he told PTI.

At the height of political turmoil, early last month after two independent MLAs withdrew support to the government and some Congress MLAs went incommunicado, Siddaramaiah had made a similar charge alleging that the BJP was trying to buy Congress MLAs by offering Rs 25-30 crore.

Dismissing Siddaramaiah's charge, state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa had dared him to provide evidence and said there was no need for the BJP to pull down the government, as the coalition partners were themselves "restive".

Urban Development Minister and Congress leader UT Khader and Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh of JD(S) Monday alleged BJP was continuing its efforts to destabilise the state government and hinted some saffron party MLAs could switch sides.

All our MLAs are in touch with our senior leaders; also BJP legislators are also in touch. So there is no problem, but we have not made any allurements (to BJP MLAs)...," Khader told reporters in Mangaluru.

He, however, declined to divulge any names.

The Minister alleged that the BJP had been trying to destabilise the government for the last eight months instead of extending cooperation as a responsible opposition.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Mahesh accused BJP of still trying to lure JD(S) MLAs.

"Wait and watch... now it has come to climax stage," he said to a question about his earlier claim that some BJP legislators were in touch with him.

They are trying to make MLAs skip the budget session. They are luring with money. Sunday also they have tried to reach out to our MLAs," the JDS Minister alleged adding that BJP even offered Minister's position to them.

Mahesh said the MLAs who "got the calls" had informed the chief minister about it.

Earlier Monday, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Working President Eshwar Khandre also hinted that some BJP MLAs might switch sides.

Responding to a question on whether Congress was in touch with any BJP MLAs as a retaliatory move, he said: "We need not contact anyone, they themselves will come to us. No need to tell numbers (how many), they will come in line, he claimed.

He said a good budget would be presented by Kumaraswamy government and the ruling coalition was strong.

He expressed confidence that all party legislators, including the four who had skipped the recent legislature party meeting, will participate in the session.

Nothing will happen, the government is stable. On 8 February, a good budget will be presented. Government is very strong and it will complete the five-year term, he said.

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Updated Date: Feb 05, 2019 00:11:43 IST