Will the phone tapping allegations prove to be final straw for Cong-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka
Bengaluru, Aug 17: An internal enquiry into the phone tapping allegations in Karnataka has revealed that phones of several politicians, bureaucrats and journalists were tapped in recent months during the tenure of former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who has since denied any involvement.
The fault lines underneath, caused by the tall allegations made by several leaders is widening day by day. The day does not seem far when these fault lines would trigger a massive political quake, leading to an end of Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka.
Cracks in the coalition government in Karnataka is not new
A day after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government n Karnataka, the coalition leadership, including Kmaraswamy had remained non-committal on the future of their alliance.
Earlier efforts to save the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka have only ended up widening the cracks between the two parties.
Congress and JD(S), considered arch rivals, especially in old Mysuru region, had joined hands to form a coalition government after the May 2018 assembly polls threw up a hung verdict.
Both parties were routed in the recent Lok Sabha polls, winning just one seat each of total of 28 seats in the state, as grassroot level workers of both parties were not happy with the alliance.
Coalition worries and dissidence within had repeatedly threatened the government's stability and raised questions about its longevity.
What is the phone tapping controversy
The phone-tapping controversy came to light recently after an audio tape in which new city Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao's name purpotedly figured was leaked to the media, alleging that he and two other IPS officers were vying for the high-profile post.
Rao was appointed Commissioner on August 2 by Yediyurappa, who was sworn-in on July 26.
Kumaraswamy denies allegations
Kumaraswamy on his part has denied allegations of phone-tapping during his tenure.
"I was the one who kept repeating that the Chief Minister's position was not permanent. There was no need for me to remain in and save the chair (of CM) by tapping phones. Allegations made against me by some people in this matter is far from the truth," he had tweeted.
Shivakumar backs HDK
Amid signs that the scandal is gaining political steam, Shivakumar, who was Minister in the Kumaraswamy government, said Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa was free to order any probe into the matter.
"Our Congress-JD(S) government did not get involved in such things. Yediyurappa can conduct a probe, let him probe. We are not opposed to it," he told reporters here.
Several Congress leaders, including its legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, M Mallikarjuna Kharge and Home Minister in the alliance government M B Patil have demanded a probe into the scandal.
H Vishwanath rakes up the issue
Disqualified JDS MLA A H Vishwanath, who alleged earlier this week that phones of several political leaders, officials and journalists were tapped, indicated in Mysuru on Thursday that snooping would not have happened without the knowledge of the then Chief Minister.
Many BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, have accused Kumaraswamy in the phone-tapping scandal and demanded the probe.
Siddaramaiah demands probe
Siddaramaiah demanded a probe stating that "Phone tapping is a serious offence. Let there be an investigation into the issue and take action against those responsible, if proved.
CM Yediyurappa seeks probe
Yediyurappa has directed Chief Secretary TM Vijaya Bhaskar to inquire into the reported tapping of phones of political leaders, rebel legislators of the coalition allies and some IPS officers