Political storm over alleged payments to Cong leaders

RSTV Bureau
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha members wear the masks of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during a protest against the Congress government on a diary with suspicious entries at the residence of Karnataka Congress MLC Govindaraj, in Bengaluru on Friday, 24 February 2017.

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha members wear the masks of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during a protest against the Congress government on a diary with suspicious entries at the residence of Karnataka Congress MLC Govindaraj, in Bengaluru on Friday, 24 February 2017.

A political slugfest has erupted in Karnataka over reported diary entries by a political aide of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah indicating alleged payments to Congress central leaders by state ministers, with the BJP asking for dissolution of the Assembly and fresh polls.

Excerpts from the diary allegedly of Siddaramaiah’s Parliamentary Secretary K Govindaraju, made public by the media, showed a few acronyms that find similarities with names of some Congress leaders and the amount in crores of Rupees against them which was purportedly paid or received.

The Income Tax Department had in March 2016 conducted searches at the residence of Govindaraju, a Member of the Legislative Council, and seized several documents.

Govindaraju, on his part, has rubbished the charges of payments to Congress central leaders and said he has nothing to do with the diary, and the handwriting that is being shown by the media is not his.

The state BJP President B S Yeddyurappa had recently claimed that several big names in the Siddaramaiah government had made huge pay offs to the Congress high command.

Yeddyurappa, who has been targeting Siddaramaiah on the diary issue for the past few weeks, demanded that the Chief Minister dissolve the Assembly and go before the people seeking a fresh mandate.

“The Chief Minister should take moral responsibility and resign; he should dissolve the Assembly and go before the people’s court. I’m ready to go on this diary to people’s court; Siddaramaiah should also be prepared for it. Let’s face and accept their decision,” he said.

As the alleged diary entries triggered a political storm, Yeddyurappa and Siddaramaiah launched personal attacks, with both calling each other “corrupt” and promising to quit politics if charges against them were proved.

BJP Yuva Morcha today staged a protest in the city demanding the resignation of Siddaramaiah, calling him the mastermind behind the “scam”. They also staged protests in front of residences of few Congress Ministers and leaders.

The protesters alleged that people’s money was being routed to the party high command in Delhi to save their seats.