Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday claimed that “kingpins” involved in gambling and illegal lottery business were aggregating and supplying money to the Opposition BJP in a bid to topple the Janata Dal (Secular)–Congress coalition government by luring legislators of the governing parties.
Referring to BJP’s alleged moves to topple the government, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “I know what is going on. I am not sitting idle. I know where they are collecting money from and who the kingpins behind collecting such money are.” Even while dropping broad hints, he, however, did not mention the names of the “kingpins”, while replying to questions by reporters here on Friday.
The BJP, meanwhile, has rubbished the allegations as “childish, reckless and ridiculous”.
Mr. Kumaraswamy’s remarks come at a time when speculation is rife that infighting in the Congress — especially between Jarkiholi brothers and Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar — could threaten the stability of the government, and the BJP, in the meantime, is trying to lure disgruntled elements to its fold.
“I know what are the attempts, but they will be futile,” the Chief Minister said. “The Opposition set September 13 (Ganesha Chuturthi day) as the deadline for toppling the government. But now deadlines are being postponed to October 2, it might next be Dasara festival,” he said. The Chief Minister said the government would take steps within the legal framework and take action against people/leaders involved in collecting money illegally.
While refusing to name any of the people he described as “kingpins”, Mr. Kumaraswmay said one of them was “involved in the destruction of files by putting fire to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) office here in 2009–10”. During the BJP tenure in the State, a huge number of BBMP files were destroyed in fire after a case was registered in connection with an alleged scam to the tune of Rs. 15,000 crore. “Kingpin involved in destruction of BBMP office files in 2009–10 is supplying money,” alleged the Chief Minister. Another one, he said, had abetted a Sakleshpur coffee planter in killing his wife and son.
Stating that he was unperturbed by these developments, Mr. Kumraswamy added that he would call a meeting of officers on Monday to discuss the execution of various development works in the State.
Responding to the allegations, N. Ravikumar, BJP general secretary, said, “Nothing can be more childish, reckless, and ridiculous as his statements. The BJP has no role to play in the crisis that has now gripped the government. The Chief Minister is paranoid. Realising that the ground under his feet is slipping, he is helpless and talking irresponsibly.” Mr. Ravikumar added that if Mr. Kumaraswamy had information on such deals, he ought to stop it rather than speak to the media.