Karnataka: Congress leaders caught gossiping about "corrupt" Shivakumar on camera
In an awkward incident, two Congress leaders in Karnataka were caught on camera discussing the alleged corruption by the party's state unit chief DK Shivakumar. The conversation between the two leaders--former MP VS Ugrappa and the party's media coordinator MA Salim--took place shortly before addressing a press conference on Tuesday. The duo was unaware that mics were on, and their conversation was being recorded.
In the two-minute-long video, the two leaders can be seen whispering to each other about Shivakumar. The video starts with Salim whispering to Ugrappa. "It was 6-8% (but) after DK (Shivakumar) came he made it 12%. These are all some adjustments by DK...he is a scamster...his aide made around Rs. 50-100 crore...Imagine how much DK would have made," Salim can be heard saying.
Further in the conversation, the duo discusses Shivakumar's speaking skills and comments that he speaks "just like a drunkard." "Whenever DK talks, he stammers a lot, just like drunkards," Salim said, adding, "Media persons ask me if he is drunk. He is not drunk, that is just his talking style." To this, Ugrappa responded with a laugh.
The leaders also compared the body language of Shivakumar and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. "He (Shivakumar) gets emotional when he speaks. See Siddaramaiah's body language when he speaks. It is tough. He (Shivakumar) does not have that," Salim was heard saying in the video.
Former Congress MP V S Ugrappa and KPCC media coordinator Salim discuss how Party president DK Shivakumar takes bribes and a close aid of his has made between 50-100 crores in collection. They are also discussing how he stutters while talking and as if he his drunk.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) October 13, 2021
As the video whipped up a political storm in the state, Ugrappa clarified that he and his colleague were "discussing allegations leveled by BJP." Ugrappa also defended Salim and said that Salim was informing him about the allegations made by "BJP and others" so that he could answer questions if raised by the media. However, the Karnataka Congress has expelled Salim for six years.
Meanwhile, when he was approached by NDTV, Shivakumar refused to comment on the matter and said, "The disciplinary committee will take strict action."
Meanwhile, former BJP spokesperson S Prakash demanded Mr. Shivakumar's resignation and called for a formal inquiry into the corruption allegations. "DK Shivakumar's corruption...has been completely exposed...both leaders (Ugrappa and Salim) are strong supporters of Siddaramaiah. This is being viewed as a conspiracy by Siddaramaiah's supporters," Prakash said. "The feud between the two has been taken to new highs," he added.