H.D. Kumaraswamy accuses Karnataka CM’s son Yathindra of seeking cash for postings

After he released a video in which CM’s son is talking of a list, CM insisted that the list contains names of schools where civil works are to be undertaken under CSR funds in his constituency Varuna

November 16, 2023 02:58 pm | Updated 06:07 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (right) with his son Yathindra

A file photo of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (right) with his son Yathindra | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

The battle of wits between the ruling Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders intensified on November 16. Accusing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son and former Congress legislator Yathindra of acting like a ‘Super Chief Minister’, Mr. Kumaraswamy sought the resignation of Mr. Siddaramaiah over a video clip in which his son is purportedly heard seeking changes to a list of names.

Earlier, the former CM had released a video in which Dr. Yathindra is heard allegedly speaking to his father and later to a person identified as Mahadev on the phone, seeking changes to a list of names, which Mr. Kumaraswamy claimed to be related to postings.

CM claims that facts have been twisted

The Chief Minister claims that the list pertains to CSR activities and is unrelated to postings. He accused Mr. Kumaraswamy of twisting facts to hurt him. His Cabinet colleagues also jumped to his defence, accusing Mr. Kumaraswamy of speaking out of desperation.

However, Mr. Kumaraswamy insisted that the list was related to transfer of public officials. Addressing mediapersons, he said, “This is what I had said in July when I referred to money being sought for transferring officials. If the Chief Minister has a conscience, he should take action.”

The former CM’s accusation comes days after Congress accused him of stealing power to light up his J.P. Nagar residence in Bengaluru for Deepavali, following which Bescom filed an FIR.

About a fortnight ago, Mr. Kumaraswamy had released documents on alleged illegal land dealings of Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, and his brother and Bengaluru Rural MP D.K. Suresh pertaining to NICE road.

‘Will resign if proved guilty’

Responding to the video clipping and Mr. Kumaraswamy’s accusations, the Chief Minister denied taking any money for transfers. “I will retire from politics if one instance of me taking money for transfers is shown. If there are five names in the list, will it be assumed to be a list of transfers? The list contains the names of schools where civil works are to be undertaken under CSR funds.” 

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that being the chairperson of Varuna constituency’s Ashraya Committee and a KDP member, Dr. Yathindra is involved in development of schools in Varuna. “He spoke to me about the list of beneficiary schools. This conversation has happened in front of the people in my constituency. By twisting this fact, Mr. Kumaraswamy has hurled accusations with the sole aim to hurt a father. It shows the convoluted mindset of Mr. Kumaraswamy. Though his wife and son are in politics, I do not wish to speak about them. Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda should counsel him.”

However, the former CM quickly challenged the Chief Minister to furnish proof and immediately release the list of five schools with relevant documents since the list is ready. “The call came from the Chief Minister, and Mahadev is a labour inspector deputed in the Chief Minister’s office,” Mr. Kumaraswamy insisted.

In response, hours later, the Chief Minister tweeted the list of five schools in Varuna constituency that he said was the crux of discussion with Dr. Yathindra on phone. He said, “Vivekananda, who is referred in the phone conversation, is the block education officer of Varuna. He had sent the list of five government schools that needed repair to the joint secretary in my office. I had spoken to Dr. Yathindra about this.” He said Mr. Kumaraswamy, “who secured power through lies and deceit, and indulged in misuse of power”, cannot understand development.

Playing a old video clipping in which Mr. Siddaramaiah accused B.Y. Vijayendra, son of former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, of acting as the ‘real CM’, Mr. Kumaraswamy told mediapersons in Bengaluru on November 16, “I am playing this video only to remind the CM of what he had said when he was the opposition leader.”

The former CM asked, “What is the job of the CM? Should the CM ask his son before he does official work?”

Colleagues back CM

Responding to the development, Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar said, “The Chief Minister has 40 years’ political experience. He was conducting a Jana Samparka meeting. He was speaking about the CSR funds to be used in schools. Local people had complained about the list. Even in my constituency, my brother D.K. Suresh handles certain issues sometimes. Because the opposition is desperate, they are making accusations... What is wrong even if he is seeking transfer of officials in the constituency?”

Home Minister G. Parameshwara said, “I do not know about the video. Why should I respond? Mr. Kumaraswamy keeps talking daily. Why should we respond to whatever he says?”

JD(S) MLA H.D. Revanna has a different take

Interestingly, Mr. Kumaraswamy’s brother and former Minister H.D. Revanna sang a different tune on the controversy. “I will not speak on personal issues, as he was a legislator. Why should I speak about him? He will do certain work because he has taken his father’s responsibilities. In the past, when H.D. Deve Gowda was a PWD Minister, I was a zilla panchayat member. I was looking after the constituency. That (Varuna) is the Chief Minister’s constituency, and his son is looking after it.”

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