Bengaluru, Nov 16 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's son Yathindra Siddaramaiah found himself embroiled in a controversy on Thursday after a video, where he was seen issuing certain instructions on the phone, went viral on social media.
Hurling corruption charges against him, former chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy hit out at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, alleging that the conversation was about the "transfer (of government servants) business".
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, his deputy D K Shivakumar and others from the ruling party denied the allegations, saying the phone conversations were regarding the development of four to five schools using Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.
"Unfortunately, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who was involved in rampant corruption during his tenure, thinks that all are like him. His pessimistic attitude does not allow him to think beyond corruption. His insecurity in politics often forces him to fabricate fake stories to paint a negative picture of his political opponents," Siddaramaiah said, lashing out the the JD(S) state chief.
"The same has happened with respect to the recent public phone conversation between me and my son about the development of schools in Varuna constituency." According to him, Yathindra was discussing the list of beneficiary schools for development but Kumaraswamy has twisted this phone conversation in front of the public to falsely attribute it to corruption in transfers.
Siddaramaiah even said that he would retire from politics if even one instance is presented with proof that he had made money through transfers.
In the video, Yathindra, a former Congress MLA, is heard saying, "Hello Appa (Father), Vivekananda! To where? No I didn't give that. Give it (phone) to Mahadeva. I had given only five." Then he speaks to Mahadeva, saying "Mahadeva, why are you giving something...? Who has given that? Nothing but whatever 4-5 I have given, that alone should be done." According to Kumaraswamy, Yathindra was speaking to R Mahadeva, a sub-registrar at Ganganagar in Bengaluru, who has been appointed as the CM's Officer on Special Duty.
Demanding an investigation into the whole episode, the JD(S) state president sought to know which list Yathindra was speaking about and who was Vivekananda in the conversation.
Directing his questions at Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy said, "Why did you call him (son Yathindra) and which list is that?" Taking a dig at the CM, Kumaraswamy said, "What is his (CM's) role? Is it his job to call his son and ask him what to do?" The BJP too came down heavily on Siddaramaiah and his son Yathindra.
"This shadow CM (Yathindra) is more powerful than CM! The ex-MLA Yathindra gave an order to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that he should do only 'what I have given him' and not more than that," the BJP posted on social media platform X.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is only holding a nominal position and all power and administration belongs to his son Yathindra, the BJP alleged, adding the post of chief minister is "vacant in the state".
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah clarified that the conversation was related to school buildings being constructed using CSR funds. He claimed that Social Welfare Minister H C Mahadevappa had given the list.
Talking about the video, the CM said he would retire from politics if it was shown that he had made money through transfers in his political career.
He also accused Kumaraswamy of diverting attention from the "power theft he committed" to illuminate his JP Nagar residence in the city during Diwali.
Shivakumar, also the Karnataka Congress chief, too reiterated that the conversation was about school development with CSR funds.
Yathindra, being the member of the Karnataka Development Programme and chairman of the Ashraya Samiti, was talking about utilisation of CSR funds to provide benches and other furniture in the schools he had chosen, he elaborated.
Kumaraswamy demanded that the list of schools, which the Deputy Director of Public Instructions has provided, be made public.
Siddaramaiah claimed Kumaraswamy's allegations stemmed from the JD(S)'s poor performance in the May assembly elections. "People of Karnataka have been seeing Kumaraswamy's attempt to personally defame me since his party lost miserably in the elections. Now he has gone one step further to hurt my family for his ulterior political motives. This has exposed his sadistic mindset," he charged.
Kumaraswamy's "false allegations" are nothing but his cruel attempt to "mentally disturb my son", Siddaramaiah alleged.
"Kumaraswamy seems to have forgotten that his wife and son are also in politics. I refrain from stooping to Kumaraswamy's level and speaking about his family in the same manner. I urge former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda to advise his son to avoid becoming an object of ridicule in front of Kannadigas," the chief minister said. PTI GMS RS ANE