'True lies' come back to haunt minister Renukacharya
Truth test is back in the State’s political discourse. The parties remain the same, BJP and JD(S). So also the venue, Dharmasthala. But the leaders are different and not as high profile as the last episode.
Two former chief ministers, B S Yeddyurappa and H D Kumaraswamy, had dared each other in the past for a truth test. But the high-voltage curiosity arouser turned a flop show when the former backed out. While believers said Yeddyurappa lost power due to his volte-face, rationalists described the face-off, is a waste of time.
On Saturday, it was Excise Minister M P Renukacharya’s turn to back off. It all started during the minister’s visit to Mangalore to review the work of excise officers.
Mediapersons reminded Renukacharya about the complaint, on May 25, by JD(S) Dakshina Kannada district general secretary Dhanraj to then chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda that excise officials were “extorting” Rs 25,000 from liquor and wine shop owners in Dakshina Kannada district.
Report to be submitted
Gowda had directed the excise commissioner to investigate the charges and submit a report. Renukacharya had defended his officials saying they were only ensuring liquor shop owners do not violate the rules.
Replying to the reporters’ queries on Saturday, Renukacharya said the allegations by Dhanraj were far from truth and he was ready to take a truth test in front of a prominent deity in the district to prove his innocence.
When reporters approached Dhanraj, he stood by his allegations and said he was ready to take the truth test in Dharmasthala. Later, at the press meet, the reporters asked Renukacharya if he was ready to take the oath in Dharmasthala as challenged by Dhanraj.
U-turn of sorts
The minister did a U-turn of sorts and said he would face the truth test only if the allegations were made by liquor shop owners or by the office-bearers of liquor and wine shop owners association.
When he was told that Dhanraj was the vice-president of the association and had a liquor shop in his mother’s name, Renukacharya took refuge in silence, signalling he was not interested in pursuing the matter.