A clip has surfaced online in which Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is heard telling party workers that Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah “supervised and made all arrangements” for Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs to resign from the Assembly in July, leading to the fall of the state government, NDTV reported on Saturday.
“You do know, don’t you, that it wasn’t Yediyurappa who made them take this decision,” the chief minister is heard saying in the clip. “The national president was aware of this and supervised this and made all arrangements. You do know this?” Yediyurappa added that since the 17 MLAs who resigned had helped the BJP come to power in Karnataka, the party must stand by them.
Yediyurappa, in remarks made to NDTV, did not deny the authenticity of the clip. “I have discussed in detail in Hubballi about one particular constituency,” he said. “Those who are responsible workers, they should not speak like that [about rebel MLAs]. In the interest of the party they must support everybody.”
The HD Kumaraswamy-led Karnataka government collapsed in July following a trust vote in the Assembly, which the ruling coalition lost 99-105. The rebel MLAs, many of whom were holed up in a hotel in Mumbai, did not participate in the trust vote. Yediyurappa was sworn in as the chief minister a few days later.
After the audio clip surfaced, the Congress attacked the BJP. “What he [Yediyurappa] and Amit Shah did was a conspiracy to murder democracy and a violation of the Constitution,” Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, according to ANI. “Both the chief minister and the [Union] home minister [Amit Shah] have no right to hold a constitutional post.”
The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind through Governor Vajubhai Vala, demanding the dismissal of the Karnataka government and of Shah from the Union Cabinet “in the interest of democracy”.
The memorandum also states that Yediyurappa and Shah “engineered and forced” the defections of the MLAs. The party also enclosed a pen drive of a video of Yediyurappa at a BJP core committee meeting on October 27.
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