Audio clip row pushes up decibel levels in LS, RS

Audio clip row pushes up decibel levels in LS, RS

Congress MPs stage a protest against 'Operation Kamala' in Karnataka, in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Parliament complex, New Delhi on Monday. PTI

Members of the Congress-JD(S) combine on Monday attacked the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha, for the reported bid to topple the Kumaraswamy government in the state.

Law Minister Sadananda Gowda led the BJP’s counter-attack, alleging that the Congress-JD(S) government had been destabilised only due to infighting between the two parties. In the Rajya Sabha also, Congress members rushed to the Well,  demanding a high-level probe into the issue.

Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, read out the transcript of the audio clip, which was recently released by the Chief Minister’s Office in Bengaluru and which purportedly contained the conversation between state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa and Sharanagouda, son of JD (S) MLA from Gurmitkal, Naganagouda Kandkur. He said Yeddyurappa was heard in the tape promising Rs 50 crore to the son of the MLA, if his father switched sides to help topple the government.

Shobha Karandlaje and BJP MPs from Karnataka and other states protested. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunged from the records some of the names the veteran Congress MP mentioned.

H D Deve Gowda, former prime minister, said the Centre must enact laws against attempts to poach MLAs to topple a state government.

Sadananda Gowda said that not only the Congress and JD(S) had differences, but infighting had escalated within the Congress too. He said that a Congress MLA had to be hospitalised after he was attacked by a fellow MLA.

Earlier, as soon as the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, Congress MP K C Venugopal sought the Speaker’s permission to speak on the issue of “Operation Lotus”.

The Speaker did not allow him to speak on the issue. She assured Venugopal that she would allow him to speak on the issue after the Question Hour. She then started the proceedings of the Question Hour.

But the Congress MPs were not ready to relent even after assurances from the Speaker. She allowed Kharge, Deve Gowda and Sadananda Gowda to speak after the House reassembled at noon.

Prior to the session, Congress members from Karnataka staged a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex. They shouted slogans against the BJP and the Central government.