BS Yeddyurappa admits that it is his voice in audio clip released by HD Kumaraswamy

HUBBALLI/BENGALURU: Hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi could land in Hubballi on Sunday to launch the BJP’s Lok Sabha campaign in the state, state BJP president BS Yeddyurappa dropped a bombshell by admitting that the voice in an audio clip released by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of him trying to buy the loyalty of a JD(S) MLA, was indeed his. Yeddyurappa had first claimed the clip fake and that it wasn’t his voice, but barely 48 hours later, completely changed tack.
Shortly after arriving in Hubballi, Yeddyurappa told reporters that Kumaraswamy had doctored the clip to suit his political ends. But he admitted meeting Sharanagouda, son of Naganagouda Kandkur, the JD(S) MLA from Gurmitkal, at the inspection bungalow in Devadurga, Raichur late on Thursday night.

“It is true that I met Sharangouda,” Yeddyurappa said. “Kumaraswamy sent the MLA's son to me to make me speak according to their requirements and then doctored and edited the audio. The CM himself seems to have written the script for the recording.”

When the audio was released, Yeddyurappa had threatened to resign if it was proved the voice was his. Accepting Yeddyurappa's challenge, Kumaraswamy who visited Manjunatha temple in Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada on Saturday, said he would retire from politics if it was proved the audio clip was a fake. “If what I have recorded is a fake audio, then why wait for Yeddyurappa to resign. I, myself, will quit politics,: the CM had said.

The ‘audio war’ is not limited to the two. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, whose name figures in the clip, has said he will suo motu raise the issue in the assembly on Monday. In the audio recording, a BJP MLA purportedly says “Kumar has been booked for Rs 50 crore” to ensure Kandkur's resignation is accepted without a hitch.

The BJP plans to release a 2014 video of Kumaraswamy in the assembly on Monday where the CM allegedly sought cash from a party man to give him an MLC ticket.

Yeddyurappa also accused Kumaraswamy of hatching a conspiracy by sending the MLAs son to meet him and recording the conversation to fix the opposition leader.

“While releasing the audio clips, the CM claimed that I invited the MLAs son for a discussion, but the truth is that he (Sharanagouda) came and met me in the guest house at 12 midnight on the directions of the CM,” the opposition leader in the legislative assembly said. “Kumaraswamy is indulging in third-grade politics by blackmailing and hatching conspiracies against elected representatives.”

On a slightly bizarre note, he said he was mulling legal action against the CM since “recording phone conversations” of others is against the rule “and the CM himself at the press conference admitted” that he was behind the recording.

On his declaration that he would take a political ‘sanyas’ if it was proven that the voice in the audio clip was his, Yeddyurappa said he was only referring to the allegations made against the speaker.

“If this accusation is proven, I said I will retire from politics,” Yeddyurappa said. “I am ready to face any kind of inquiry pertaining to the audio clip.”

Cashing in on the Yeddyurappa’s unexpected admission, the Congress on Sunday stepped up the attack on the opposition leader and demanded that he take political ‘sanyas’. KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “Yeddyurappa's confession has exposed not just the BJP state president but also national leaders including Modi and Amit Shah who were backing him. The party has admitted that it was indeed trying to lure other party MLAs with money and position. This is nothing but an attempt to murder democracy.”

Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said Yeddyurappa should stick to his promise and retire from politics. Echoing similar views, water resources minister DK Shivakumar said he will take an “appropriate call”, but refused to elaborate.