Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Saturday sought to know whether the Karnataka Chief Minister’s seat was offered in exchange for money to aspiring candidates by the BJP, and sought a probe into allegations made by a ruling party MLA that he was approached by power brokers, asking him to pay Rs 2,500 crore bribe for the top position.
The demand comes at a time when the Basavaraj Bommai-led government in the state is facing charges of corruption. Terming it a serious issue, Siddaramaiah said only proper investigation will reveal the truth. “Is the CM’s position a payment seat?” the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly asked in the wake of claims made by BJP legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal that he was approached by ‘some people’ from Delhi, offering the state chief minister’s position, in exchange for Rs 2,500 crore.
Yatnal, however, did not name any one, but only said there are ”fraud” companies.
The Congress stalwart said if an investigation is not conducted, it will only imply that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has admitted to have paid crores of rupees to become chief minister. Yatnal’s statement, Siddaramaiah said, showed he has lot of information on irregularities committed in the BJP and he should be interrogated to unravel the truth.
“People were under the impression that the Legislature Party elects the CM in BJP. Now, Yatnal has disclosed that CM’s chair is bought through auction. The total amount spent by previous CMs of BJP should also be looked into,” the Congress leader said.
He also claimed that rates for all other posts including ministerial berths are also fixed. Alleging that there is a link between Yatnal’s allegation and the scams of BJP like 40 per cent commission from civil contractors, Police Sub-Inspector recruitment fraud, he said it ought to be investigated.
“Those who have made payments to become CM and ministers, have gotten into commission business. This has led to the death of an innocent and also deprived many of their bright future,” the Congress leader said referring to the ‘suicide’ of a civil contractor in Udupi.
Noting that Yatnal’s allegations were not new as he had accused chief ministers and ministers of being involved in scams in the past, Siddaramaiah wondered why the BJP high command was silent.
“Is this their (BJP high command) approval?” the former CM questioned.