Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was at the centre of a controversy today after the release of an audio CD about him purpotedly telling the supporters of an MLC seat aspirant from his party about the demand for money from his party MLAs.
"Each MLA (of JDS) is asking for one crore. They are saying you make anybody the MLC..." Kumaraswamy is purportedly heard telling the supporters of Vijugowda Patil, a local leader from Bijapur District and an aspirant for the MLC seat, in the CD played by Kannada TV channels.
At another point, Kumaraswamy is heard saying, "40 people (JDS MLAs) are asking for 40 crore... This is my fate." In a sharp reaction, Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister HD Devegowda, did not disown the authenticity of the conversation but said he had only discussed the direction in which the current politics was moving.
"It is not proper to portray me as a villain when I have only discussed in general the harsh reality of politics," he said.
It was also not proper to project as if JD(S) MLAs had committed a big crime, he said in a statement. He said he was also ready for a public debate either in the assembly or outside, Kumaraswamy said.
"Has any transaction taken place? It was only a general discussion," he told different TV channels while admitting that the discussion took place at his residence.
Kumaraswamy said he saw "some hidden hand" behind the release of the CD but had no regrets over the discussion that has landed in a major embarrassment.
BJP's Karnataka unit President Prahlad Joshi said it was a 'tragedy of democracy' that a political leader has come to such a pass.