Bengaluru: A video of Karnataka Congress’ leaders VS Ugrappa and MA Saleem purportedly discussing alleged corruption by state party chief DK Shivakumar has surfaced online.
They were seen speaking about Shivakumar before a press conference completely unaware that the mikes and cameras were on.
The conversation is said to be related to the scams in the Irrigation Department when Shivakumar was the Irrigation Minister in the coalition government of Congress- JD(S), which ran for 14 months and collapsed in June 2019.
“It was six to eight per cent before then it became 10 to 12 per cent. It is all DK adjustment. Mulgund (aide of DK) has made Rs 50-100 crore. Imagine if Mulgund has this, then how much DK has,” Saleem said.
“Uppar and G Shankar, the one from Hospet in Ballari, whom you know. Uppar is from Bengaluru,” Saleem was seen explaining.
When Ugrappa corrected him that Uppar is from Vijayapura, Saleem said Uppar’s house is right opposite to former Chief Minister S M Krishna’s in Bengaluru.
“It’s (Irrigation) a big scandal. If dug properly, his (D K Shivakumar) role will also come out. You don”t know, sir, the three (contractors) made Rs 50-100 crore. If they had made so much (of wealth), then guess how much he (Shivakumar) would have made. He is a collection ”giraaki” (extortionist),” Saleem is heard saying.
In reply, Ugrappa said he did not know those things.
“I don’t know this. We all lobbied to make him (Shivakumar) State president. That’s why I am not saying anything. These are the reasons,” Ugrappa is heard saying
“He stutters while talking. I don’t know if it’s low BP or if he’s a drunkard. That’s what we discussed, media also asked if he was drinking then but he wasn’t. Siddaramaiah’s body language is kadak (smart),” said Salim.
They further compared DK Shivakumar with Siddaramaiah and said that the Karnataka Congress president is of no use to the party.
Ugrappa said Shivakumar has hurt Congress. “We all fought hard to make DK the president. But he hurt us and the party,” Ugrappa said.
Later, Ugrappa got a show-cause notice while Saleem was suspended from Congress for 6 years.
Reacting to the incident, Shivakumar said the conversation between Saleem and Ugrappa, which media has shown, has actually taken place.
“You have shown that they have spoken ill against me. I will not deny it. They have spoken against me,” Shivakumar said in a press conference.
He further said he has no connection with the content of the conversation.
“I am unrelated to what they have spoken. I was never part of any ”percentage” (share in contracts) and I don”t need it. I have no connection with it (share in contracts),” Shivakumar said.
Clarifying, Ugrappa held a press conference today and said Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are like the two eyes of the party in Karnataka and both were dear to him.
Ugrappa said Saleem was briefing him about what the BJP leaders were talking outside following raids. However, the place chosen by him was wrong and he could have spoken in private and not before the media, he said. The developments come well ahead of the crucial bypolls to Sindagi and Hanagal Assembly segments on October 30.
Also, it has come at a time when the party has geared up for the Assembly elections, which is one-and-a-half years away.
The party had also seen in the past the show of strength between the factions of Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah. Ugrappa and Saleem are considered as Siddaramaiah”s close aides.