Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday hit out at JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, who is caught in a row over an audio CD allegedly discussing about money to be paid to his party MLAs by an aspirant for MLC seat, saying he could not defend himself claiming other parties were also indulging in corruption.
“I haven’t seen the conversation in the CD. I will not comment on it. Let people of the state take a decision on it,” Siddaramaiah told reporters on the sidelines of a function.
Kumaraswamy is at the centre of a controversy after release of an audio CD about him purportedly telling the supporters of MLC seat aspirant Vijugowda Patil, a JD(S) leader from Bijapur district, about the demand for money from his party MLAs.
Asked about Kumaraswamy’s allegations that all parties are involved in such scandals, Siddaramaiah said, “If a cat drinks the milk closing its eyes, it doesn’t mean that the entire world is not watching it drink the milk.”
“Whoever has done. Mistake is a mistake. Corruption is corruption. If he (Kumaraswamy) says other parties are also doing it, is not a defence at all,” he said.
In the CD which surfaced mysteriously with all the Kannada TV channels playing the audio clip, Kumaraswamy was purportedly heard telling the supporters of Patil “Each MLA (of JDS) is asking for one crore. They are saying you make anybody the MLC…”
At another point, Kumaraswamy was heard saying “40 people (JDS MLAs) are asking for 40 crore… This is my fate.”
Reacting to it, Kumaraswamy did not disown the authenticity of the conversation but said he had only discussed the direction in which the current politics was moving and it was not proper to portray him as a villain when he only discussed in general the harsh reality of politics.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Ananth Kumar demanded a thorough probe into the cash-for-seat controversy and said the guilty should be punished.
“Whoever is guilty, after a thorough probe, he should be punished,” he said. Kumar also wanted amendments for holding free and fair Legislative Council elections as it is done while conducting Rajya Sabha polls.
“I will also urge as a minister that there should be same type of amendments for legislative (council) elections also like they are in for Rajya Sabha elections because biggest disease or problem of these elections are horse-trading and we need to bring it to an end by bringing in systemic changes,” he said.
Reacting to Kumaraswamy’s allegations that all parties were committing the same electoral crime, he said it was very unfortunate that the former Chief Minister is saying so.
He said during Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA rule at the Centre, the BJP tried to bring in reforms in both the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections. “We could make the Rajya Sabha elections transparent.”