Misappropriation of election fund is about Rs. 3 crore, says Anthon
Anthon Fernandis, member of Karnataka State Minority Commission, held Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, district in-charge minister of Uttara Kannada and Prasad Karwarkar, district president of Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), responsible for the party's debacle in the recent local body elections in Uttara Kannada.
Mr. Fernandis told presspersons on Saturday that as a loyal BJP worker he was “pained” to see the plight of the party in the recent election. Uttara Kannada, which was once the bastion of the BJP, rejected the party because of the selfishness of the district president and the Minister, he said.
Mr. Fernandis said the divisive policy adopted by Mr. Kageri led to the party's debacle in coastal areas of the district.
The Minister had divided the district into two – upper and lower ghat areas and there was disparity in development works.
This led to the backlash against the party in the coastal areas of the district.Mr. Fernandis alleged that Mr. Karwarkar entered into a secret understanding with an Opposition party leader and deliberately fielded weak candidates.
He said about Rs.3 crore had been given by the party to the candidates but it never reached them and ‘disappeared'. Mr. Fernandis said a district general secretary of the BJP collected about Rs. 50 lakh from the officials of the Revenue, Public Works, Forest and Health departments in the district and that money too was not given to the candidates.
He said the same person had collected about Rs. 25 lakh from government officials during Chief Minister B.S. Yedyurappa's visit to Karwar last month.
This was not done without the knowledge of Mr. Karwarkar, he said.
He said about 10 candidates to whom the BJP denied the ticket in the zilla panchayat elections were fielded by the Congress and they got elected.
Mr. Fernandis demanded immediate resignation of Mr. Kageri and Mr. Karwarkar on moral grounds as they failed to win even 10 seats in zilla panchayat election. He said he had brought it to the notice of BJP State unit president K.S. Eshwarappa.
The misappropriation of election fund was about Rs. 3 crore and it should be probed by the party, he said. A committee of State BJP leaders and the defeated candidates should be formed to check how the party fund disappeared, he said.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr. Karwarkar said Mr. Fernandis had worked against the party candidates in the zilla and taluk panchayat elections. Now he was making baseless allegation against the party leaders.
He denied that any BJP leader had collected money from government officials. He said the party fund was distributed in a transparent manner and the allegation of usurping the funds was baseless and he would give the account to the high command soon.