Karnataka: In a major embarrassment for the Congress party, one of its own MLAs, Shivaram Hebbar, has diffused the “bribe bomb” the party hurled at the BJP ahead of the Floor Test in Karnataka Assembly on Saturday. Congress had released sting audio clippings purportedly showing BJP allegedly offering bribe to buy the support of the Congress MLA during the floor test. Hebbar has said the tape released by the Congress was “fake”.
Hebbar is a Congress MLA from Yellapur. The said audio tape was released by Congress MLC V S Ugrappa on Saturday. The Congress had claimed that the tape was of a recorded call by BJP leaders offering Rs 15 crore bribe to Hebbar’s wife for his support. The MLA, however, said the tape was “fake and fabricated”.
Hebbar wrote on Facebook on Saturday that the voice of the woman in the audio clipping was not of his wife. She had received no call. Hebbar also condemned those who released such clippings for political reasons.
Another Congress MLA BK Hariprasad, however, was reported as saying by CNN News 18 that Hebbar’s statement was not an embarrassment for the Congress party.
The Indian Express today reported Congress as claiming that it had laid a trap and the BJP walked in. Congress sources told IE that there was an alleged middleman and a planned operation to “trap BJP in the act” of trying to lure MLAs to switch sides before the trust votes.
The Congress had released six audio recording in the run-up to the Floor Test which didn’t take place as Yeddyurappa announced his decision to resign from the CM post.
IE reports Congress sources as saying that the plan to trap BJP started three days ago when the saffron party’s alleged MLA approached Congress leadership. A senior Congress leader said that MLAs who could pretend negotiations with the BJP were selected for trapping the saffron party. The audio clipping released by the Congress included one having a purported conversation with Yeddyurappa.
Not commenting on Hebbar’s statement, Congress MLA BC Patil told ANI: “They (BJP) offered me Minister post & all, it’s a fact. I don’t know about Hebbar. I can talk about myself. Yeddyurappa, Sriramulu and Muralidhar Rao spoke to me.”