“I had merely discussed the hard reality of politics,” says the JD(S) leader, defending audio CD conversation.

Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday came in for flak from his fellow politicians for allegedly demanding money from an MLC aspirant. The row broke out after the former Karnataka Chief Minister was heard, in an audio CD that came to light recently, allegedly seeking a bribe in exchange for JD(S) support to contest in the recently concluded State Legislative Council elections.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who said he had not heard the conversation in the CD, criticised Mr. Kumaraswamy for seeking to defend himself with the alibi that other parties too indulged in similar activity. Mr. Kumaraswamy has said he had not committed “a grave crime.”

“I will not comment on it. Let people of the State take a decision on it,” Mr. Siddaramaiah told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the State Secretariat here.

“Corruption is corruption. If he [Mr. Kumaraswamy] says other parties are also doing it, [ that] is not a defence at all.”

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar demanded a probe to unearth the truth and punish the guilty. Mr. Kumar said the party was in favour of amendments for ensuring transparency in elections to the Legislative Council. Systematic changes were required to end horse-trading, he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar told The Hindu that “it’s an internal affair of the JD(S). The party would not raise the issue during the ongoing Legislature session.”

In the audio CD released on Saturday, Mr. Kumaraswamy purportedly tells supporters of Vijugowda Patil, the JD(S) leader from Bijapur district, that his party MLAs sought money for support in the elections to the Legislative Council. The JD(S) has 40 MLAs in the Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Kumaraswamy admitted that he was not a “hypocrite” but had merely discussed the “hard reality of politics” and it was not proper to portray him as a villain.

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