Audio clip row leaves BJP on the back foot

Audiogate in which an audio chip purportedly featuring BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa and party’s Devadurga legislator Shivanagouda Naik trying to lure the son of Gurmitkal JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandakur by offering a huge sum of money being made public put an end to this edition of “Operation Kamala”. (DH File Photo)

Disappointment is looming large over the BJP camp after the efforts of its leaders to poach Congress and JD(S) legislators to rattle the coalition government could not be sustained.

The BJP did manage to get the support of the seven to eight MLAs and was even planning to defeat the finance bill (budget) when it came up for consideration in the Assembly.

However, in an anticlimax for the BJP, five MLAs who were said to be staying in a hotel in Mumbai, turned up in legislature session on Wednesday, the day
the government had listed the finance bill for discussion in the House.

The BJP sources said the party has badly burnt its fingers again in its third attempt to poach MLAs of the ruling alliance.

Audiogate in which an audio chip purportedly featuring BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa and party’s Devadurga legislator Shivanagouda Naik trying to lure the son of Gurmitkal JD(S) MLA Naganagouda Kandakur by offering a huge sum of money being made public put an end to this edition of “Operation Kamala”.

Audiogate is now being seen as a masterstroke by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who released the clip.

Four rebel Congress MLAs – former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), Umesh Jadhav (Chincholi) and B Nagendra (Bellary) facing the threat of disqualification after having been incommunicado for a few weeks returned to attend the legislature session.

As a face-saver, the BJP is now trying to intensify its agitation against the attack by JD(S) workers on the house of Hassan MLA Preetham Gowda.

The attack took place after Preetham purportedly said in the audiogate tape that the JD(S) will cease to exist after its supremo H D Deve Gowda’s demise.

The party leaders will be meeting to chalk out the next step of action after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kalaburagi to address an election rally on February 19.

On its part, leaders of the coalition partners – the Congress and the JD(S) - are slated to soon sit across the table to discuss seat sharing for the Lok Sabha polls.

The state has 28 Lok Sabha seats and Deve Gowda has already sought 10-12 seats for the regional party, some currently held by the Congress. However, the grand old party is not ready to cede and has only offered four to six seats to the JD(S).

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Audio clip row leaves BJP on the back foot

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