A Karnataka MLA has claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had offered him money to switch over from the Congress in 2019, The New Indian Express reported on Monday. The Congress has demanded an investigation to Shrimant Patil’s claims.
Patil was among 17 MLAs who had revolted against the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in 2019. Their resignation had led to the collapse of the coalition government in July 2019 and the subsequent formation of the BJP government.
“BJP asked me how much money I wanted,” Patil claimed on Saturday, according to The Indian Express. “But I asked for a good post in the government to serve the people.”
Patil had been included in former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s Cabinet in 2020.
Yediyurappa resigned from his position in July this year, after which Basavaraj Bommai was appointed to the top post. Bommai’s Cabinet was sworn in in August. Patil is not part of the Cabinet.
On Saturday, Patil claimed that the BJP has promised that he will be made a minister the next time the Karnataka Cabinet is expanded, The New Indian Express reported.
“I have done farming for two decades but last time I was given Textile and Minority Welfare portfolio, which I have handled honestly,” Patil told The Hindu. “ If the agriculture portfolio is given, I will handle it efficiently and help people.”
The Congress demanded an explanation from the BJP about the MLA’s claims. “Patil is a former BJP minister,” Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said on Monday, according to The New Indian Express. “He himself has revealed that money was offered to him to switch loyalties.”
Shivakumar added: “I congratulate him [Patil] for bringing out the truth. The ACB [Anti-corruption Bureau] officials in Bengaluru or Belagavi should register a suo-motu case and find out who offered money to him.”
Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah said what Patil claimed was true. “BJP offered money to Congress and JDS MLAs,” he told ANI. “They’ve given Rs 25 crore to Rs 35 crore.”