Stormy end to session as Cong, BJP spar in House

Stormy end to session as Cong, BJP spar in House

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday lashed out at the Opposition BJP in the two Houses of the legislature for charging him with having paid Rs 1,000 crore to the Congress high command and said he will quit if proved guilty.

“I first became a minister in 1984. I will be presenting my 12th budget next month. Till this day, there is not even one black mark against me. You (BJP) are making baseless charges just to defame me. I will quit as chief minister and also retire from politics the moment it is proven that I have indulged in corruption,” Siddaramaiah said in the Legislative Council.

In the Assembly, Siddaramaiah termed the recent raids by Income Tax (I-T) department against the Congress leaders as “conspiracy” and “political vendetta” unleashed by the Centre against the Congress government. He rejected BJP’s demand to drop Small Scale Industries Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi from the council of ministers in the wake of I-T raids, claiming lack of evidence.

The House witnessed uproar with the BJP members led by Jagadish Shettar rubbishing Siddaramaiah’s charges and demanding clarification on Siddaramaiah’s aide K Govindaraj’s diary wherein details of payments he had reportedly made to the Congress bosses are mentioned. Shettar and Siddaramaiah indulged in heated exchanges, with the latter displaying a copy of the CD which, the Congress leaders claim, is proof of Yeddyurappa having paid money to the BJP high command.

The ruling party and the BJP made accusations against each other. As a result, Siddaramaiah’s reply to the motion of thanks to the governor’s address concluded with mug-slinging and slogan-shouting by members on both sides. The BJP members staged a walkout, protesting against the chief minister’s charges, while the JD(S) members remained mute spectators.

BJP’s R Ashoka claimed that Congress had doctored the CD and dared the ruling party to allow a discussion on the issue. Govindaraj’s diary has proved that the chief minister had taken kickbacks for sanctioning the steel flyover project in Bengaluru and paid Rs 1,000 crore to the high command, Shettar said. Siddaramaiah hit back, charging the BJP government at the Centre with conspiring against his government.

The chief minister claimed there is no evidence against Ramesh Jarkiholi. The I-T department informed the state government recently that it cannot disclose any information on the raid as investigations are on.

“How can BJP access information on the I-T raids? This proves that the BJP leaders are making baseless charges and conspiring against the government. The CD has corroborated this,” he said.

“Why only Congress leaders are targeted in Karnataka? Are all the BJP leaders BPL (below poverty line) ration card holders?” Siddaramaiah said. Shettar hit back, saying how can the ruling party justify when I-T department seized large sums of unaccounted for money from Congress leaders during the raids.
DH News Service

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