CM, Congress work towards keeping coalition intact

Says 'kingpins' are collecting money; contemplates legal action
Last Updated 15 September 2018, 02:04 IST

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday launched a virulent attack on the BJP, accusing it of using underworld “kingpins” to topple his government, even as the disgruntled Jarkiholi brothers continued to keep the Congress on tenterhooks.

The chief minister claimed that kingpins behind the lucrative illegal lottery business and the murky dealings in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) were collecting money that the BJP was offering to lure legislators into switching sides.

Both Kumaraswamy and his father, JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, jumped into the ensuing uncertainty to try and salvage their coalition with the Congress. Kumaraswamy said he was “ready to do whatever it takes” to save the government.

“Don’t I know what’s happening? I know money is being offered (to legislators). Do you think I will be silent?” Kumaraswamy rhetorically asked. “Where is this money coming from? Who are the kingpins behind collecting the money? I’m also thinking of what I can do under the law to take action against those involved,” he said.

Gowda is said to have discussed the political situation with AICC General Secretary in charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal. Later in the day, the Congress filed a complaint with the income tax department against the BJP for “cash allurements” to MLAs.

According to Kumaraswamy, the ‘kingpins’ include those who conspired to set on fire important documents in the BBMP headquarters in 2011. “Also, who was the kingpin responsible for a coffee planter from Sakleshpur shooting his wife and child? What is the background of the kingpin behind the lottery business where crores of rupees are being collected to overthrow the government?” he said.

Asked why he had not initiated action despite his knowledge of these kingpins, Kumaraswamy said: “This hasn’t caused any disturbance. I’m a free person. But they are trying (to topple the government) and deadlines are being set. Whatever it is, I have to save the government.”

Kumaraswamy’s call to save the government comes amid the threat of revolt posed by the Jarkiholi brothers. The chief minister is expected to hold talks with them at Belagavi on Saturday on the sidelines of an event. “The Jarkiholis are with me, but the Congress is a national party. They have to take decisions,” he said. The Jarkiholi brothers remained incommunicado, causing fear in the Congress that the BJP was in touch with them and some other disgruntled legislators.

KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara huddled in Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar’s house earlier in the day in a bid to arrive at a solution before the return of CLP leader Siddaramaiah from Europe.

That the Jarkiholi brothers do not have the support of enough number of MLAs to pose any real threat to the coalition is said to be the reason behind the ongoing suspense.


(Published 14 September 2018, 08:52 IST)

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