Will quit politics if ‘transfer business’ charges are proven: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
CM hits out at Bommai, HDK, calls charges ridiculous; BJP MLAs walk out over Anna Bhagya
BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday rubbished the allegation of transfer business levelled against him and his government by former CMs Basavaraj Bommai and HD Kumaraswamy. Calling the allegations “ridiculous”, Siddaramaiah said he will retire from politics if the charges are proven.
“In my political career spanning over 40 years, there have been no scams against my name. If anybody proves that a bribe was taken in the transfer of officials, then I will retire from politics. I deny the allegations made by Bommai and Kumaraswamy,” he thundered.
He, however, said that there is a possibility that someone without his knowledge may have indulged in transfer business. The CM added that he has told all his 34 Cabinet colleagues to ensure that there is no corruption in transfers in their respective departments.
Siddaramaiah was replying to the debate on the Governor’s speech in the Assembly on Thursday.
The CM said that transfer of officials was a common affair and done by previous governments too. “There could be more transfers whenever a new government comes to power for various reasons, including for administrative purposes and requests from legislators. But the Opposition’s allegations are far from the truth,” the CM said.
Intervening, Bommai, however, said that he did not mean Siddaramaiah was involved in corruption. “But doubt arises when you say that there could be transfer business without your knowledge,” he said.
JDS MLA HD Revanna spoke in favour of Siddaramaiah saying he does not believe if someone says the latter committed corruption in transfers. He also claimed that his brother HD Kumaraswamy as CM did not indulge in the transfer business.
The issue took an ugly turn when Kumaraswamy on Wednesday showed a ‘rate card’ for the transfers in a department, indirectly targeting Agriculture Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy.
Cheluvarayaswamy showed a newspaper cutting accusing Kumaraswamy of corruption. Kumaraswamy turned the tables on the Congress saying that their leaders held plum portfolios during the alliance government.
BJP walks out
BJP legislators, led by former CM Basavaraj Bommai, staged a walkout alleging that the ruling Congress was blaming the Centre over denial of rice for the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Siddaramaiah mentioned the turn of events and alleged that the Centre in order to stall the scheme denied the rice to Karnataka. But Bommai claimed that the policy decision to discontinue the sale of rice to states under Open Market Sale Scheme- Domestic (OMSS-D) in May itself. He alleged that the Congress government did not approach the Centre and instead depended on the Food Corporation of India. But Siddaramaiah alleged that the BJP state leadership must have suggested to the Centre not to give rice to the state. After a heated argument, the BJP MLAs staged a walkout. Meanwhile, the government moved the motion of thanks on the Governor’s address.
HAD MODI’S BACKING, COULD’VE BEEN CM: HDK
Former CM H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday claimed that PM Narendra Modi had held a meeting with him in 2019, and was ready to continue with him as chief minister for four years, when the Congress-JDS government was on the brink of collapse. It was eventually brought down. “Modi had held deliberations with me for about one-and-half hours, and was ready to back me. If I had decided, I too would have been chief minister for five years,” he said, making a startling revelation in the assembly. To this, Magadi MLA Balakrishna made a jibe, asking Kumaraswamy how a ‘secular’ party like JDS could join hands with the BJP. Kumaraswamy replied that secularism has no meaning as elections are won on the basis of caste. “You branded JDS as BJP’s ‘B-Team’. We too have to do survival politics,” he remarked.