‘Was offered money to join BJP’: Karnataka MLA who quit Congress hints at ‘Operation Kamal’ in 2019, makes U-turn later

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Updated: September 13, 2021 1:18 PM

Shrimant Patil is an MLA from Kagwad Assembly constituency in Karnataka. He was initially associated with Congress but changed camp in July 2019.

Shrimant Patil is an MLA from Kagwad Assembly constituency in Karnataka. He was initially associated with Congress but changed camp in July 2019.

BJP MLA Shrimant Balasaheb on Sunday said that he was offered money to leave the Congress and join the saffron party before the toppling of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka. He, however, latest made a U-turn on his remark and said that he was never offered money and that he joined the saffron party on his own. 

“I have joined BJP without taking any offer of money. I was offered money to join the party. I could have asked for as much as I wanted. I did not ask for money, I asked them to give me a minister’s post to serve the people,” Patil said.

Patil said the offer was made during Operation Lotus when MLAs from other parties joined the BJP which subsequently brought the BS Yediyurappa government to power.

“I do not know why I was not given a ministership in the present government. But I have been promised that I will get a minister’s post in the next expansion. I had a word with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai,” he added.

Reacting to Patil’s remarks, Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah said that the former made a correct statement, adding that Congress and JDS MLAs were offered “Rs 25-30 crore” to switch camps.

Later, clarifying on his remark Patil said: “No one approached me with money. I went to them on my own. They asked me why do I want to support them. I told them I don’t want anything, just a good portfolio if they form govt. Even if someone offers money, I won’t accept. I didn’t take money.”

Shrimant Patil is an MLA from Kagwad Assembly constituency in Karnataka. He was initially associated with Congress but changed camp in July 2019. He was also one of the 16 MLAs who joined BJP from Congress and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) leading to the fall of the coalition government led by then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

After the Yediyurappa government formed in the state, he was given a ministerial berth. However, he was dropped from the cabinet after BS Yediyurappa resigned and Basavaraj Bommai became the chief minister.

Meanwhile, the first session of the Karnataka legislature, after the change of guard in the state, will begin here from Monday, as opposition parties are all set to corner the government on a host of issues including price rise, law and order situation, handling of Covid-19 pandemic, implementation of National Education Policy, among others. The ten-day monsoon session is the first for Basavaraj Bommai, as the Chief Minister and his new cabinet, which took charge following the exit of state BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa in July-end.

The legislature session will be held from September 13 to 24. This monsoon session is being held by following Covid-19 guidelines. The previous session was the budget session, which ended on March 24.

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