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The Mics Were Hot: Congress Gossip Session In Karnataka Is, Well, Awkward


A conversation between ex Congress MP VS Ugrappa and media coordinator Salim was overheard

Bengaluru:

A video of two Karnataka Congress leaders discussing alleged corruption by DK Shivakumar, chief of the state unit, and his associates was tweeted Wednesday by the BJP’s Amit Malviya.

The two – former MP VS Ugrappa and the party’s media coordinator Salim – were caught on camera yesterday whispering to each other (unaware their conversation was being recorded) shortly before addressing a press conference; references were made to “adjustments (from six-eight per cent to 12 per cent)” by Mr Shivakumar and to an aide of his who “made around 50-100 crores”.

In their exchange the two also referred to Mr Shivakumar as a “drunkard”.

“Former Congress MP VS Ugrappa and KPCC media coordinator Salim discuss how party President DK Shivakumar takes bribes… and a close aide of his has made between 50-100 crores… They are also discussing how he stutters while talking and as if he his drunk. Interesting,” Amit Malviya wrote.

NDTV has not been able to independently verify the video.

Mr Shivakumar has said he “doesn’t want to comment on this matter (but) the disciplinary committee will take strict action”.

The Congress, however, has responded with Mr Ugrappa clarifying that his colleague was simply making him aware of allegations being levelled (against Mr Shivakumar) by the BJP.

“I came to address a press conference yesterday… our media coordinator, Salim, whispered (to me) that some people were saying DK Shivakumar’s people were taking money… this is the allegation that the BJP is making, and he was just telling me this,” Mr Ugrappa said today.

“After the press conference I spoke with Salim… even now you (the media) can speak to him… he made it very clear it was not his allegation… it is the allegation made by BJP and others. He told me, ‘if you take questions from the media, better you should have information… that is why I told you’.”

However, the Congress’s Karnataka unit has expelled Salim from the party for six years.

The two-minute-long video begins with Salim (in the green shirt) whispering to Mr Ugrappa.

“It was six-eight per cent (but) after DK (Shivakumar) came he made it 12 per cent. These are all some adjustments by DK… he is a scamster… his aide made around 50-100 crore. Imagine how much DK would have made… he is just a collection person,” Salim can be heard saying.

To this Mr Ugrappa seems to respond: “You don’t know… we all were adamant to make him President (of the party’s state unit). But he is not taking off…”

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DK Shivakumar was made chief of the Congress’ Karnataka unit in March last year (File)

The two then seem to discuss Mr Shivakumar’s speech.

“Whenever DK talks, he stammers a lot, just like drunkards. He drinks?” Salim asks of Mr Ugrappa, to which the latter responds: “That’s what they were telling”.

“Media personnel were asking whether he (Mr Shivakumar) was drunk… the way he talks is like that,” Salim adds, “When he talks, he speaks very emotionally…”

The BJP has driven home its point with former spokesperson S Prakash demanding Mr Shivakumar’s resignation and calling for a formal inquiry into the corruption allegations.

“DK Shivakumar’s corruption… has been completely exposed… both leaders (Mr Ugrappa and Mr Salim) are strong supporters of (former Chief Minister) Siddaramaiah. This is viewed as a conspiracy by Siddaramaiah supporters… the feud between the two has been taken to new highs… DK Shivakumar must resign and there must be an inquiry,” Mr Prakash said in a video of his own.

DK Shivakumar was made Karnataka Congress chief in March last year; the high-profile trouble-shooter replaced Dinesh Gundu Rao, who resigned after the party’s dismal performance in by-polls that saw 11 ex Congress and JDS rebel MLAs (now with the BJP) re-elected to seats they resigned.





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