Karnataka circles abuzz with talk of CD linked to Yediyurappa; Congress calls for probe

Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, responding to Shivakumar’s allegations, had dared the Congress to provide evidence for its claims.

Over the past few months, rumours have been circulating in Karnataka’s political circles about a CD that could be detrimental to the political interests of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. In recent months, chatter about this CD has peaked – especially after a January 13 cabinet expansion by Yediyurappa which left several BJP aspirants for ministerial berths disgruntled.

The content of the CD, its veracity and even its existence is not clear from the chatter with persons alleged to have obtained, circulated and received it not commenting on it.

The first time talk about the CD emerged in the public domain was in November 2020 after a close aide, grand nephew and political secretary of the CM, N R Santhosh was hospitalised following what was believed to be a suicide attempt.

Thereafter, state Congress president D K Shivakumar told the media about a CD while speaking on the possible reasons for the alleged suicide attempt.

“As per my information, what I have heard is that a confidential video was distributed by the Chief Minister’s political secretary N R Santosh to an MLC and a minister. This was also later given to the BJP high command,” Shivakumar said.

“The MLC and minister were blackmailing the Chief Minister and leaders in the government. It has been happening for the last several months. The suicide attempt by the Chief Minister’s political secretary is not a trivial issue. It needs to be investigated properly and not by the state,” he said.

Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, responding to Shivakumar’s allegations, had dared the Congress to provide evidence for its claims.

The issue, however, died down after Santhosh, following his discharge from hospital, claimed that he had not attempted suicide but merely consumed a wrong medicine. “I felt drowsy after consuming the wrong medicine and was taken to hospital by my family. I have no reason to commit suicide and there was no political pressure,” Santhosh said.

Talk about the CD resurfaced last week after Yediyurappa carried out a long-pending expansion of his cabinet to induct seven new ministers. The topic was raised by MLA Basavaraj Patil Yatnal, who did not get a ministerial berth.

Yatnal alleged that Yediyurappa had been blackmailed by two legislators using a controversial CD and they were named ministers. “The chief minister has given prominence to people who blackmailed him to make them ministers. One of them is a political secretary and two are ministers. In the last three months, the three have been using some CD recordings of Yediyurappa to blackmail him. One of them has also paid Vijayendra (the CM’s son),” the former Union Minister said.

“The three who blackmailed had met me earlier and tried to co-opt me in efforts to topple the government. If I was interested in this type of CD politics I could have become a deputy CM anytime. Let the CM conduct a fair inquiry in the issue,” he said.

Another legislator H Vishwanath, who joined the BJP after quitting the JDS in 2019, claimed the CD would soon find its way into the public domain.

The comments by BJP legislators have resulted in the Congress taking up the issue again.

“Only a weak chief minister will be blackmailed. If there is someone who is blackmailing, a criminal case must be filed. See it is their own party members who are making the allegations, so it shows there is some truth in it,” former CM and Leader of the Opposition in the state legislature Siddaramaiah said.

“I don’t know what is in the CD. I am told it is not good. Let there be a probe,” he added.

“The BJP should be called the Blackmail Janata Party. This is what their own legislators are saying. The CM should take moral responsibility for allegations of the cabinet expansion involving blackmail and bribery. An inquiry has to be conducted into the allegations,” said Shivakumar.

Yediyurappa has stated that the party high command, which is aware of everything, “will decide on right and wrong”. Central and state leaders of the BJP have denied knowledge of the CD.

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