Bengaluru: Amid the heat and dust of the December 5 assembly bypolls, the mystery over the ’money deal’ between disqualified MLA and the BJP’s Hosakote candidate M.T.B. Nagaraj and former CM Siddaramaiah continues.
A day after Mr Nagaraj, whose declared assets are more than Rs 1,000 crores, claimed that he had given money to Siddaramaiah when he was in the good books of the former CM, Siddaramaiah refuted the claim and instead passed the buck to former minister and Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda
remarking that he might have taken money from Nagaraj which he would have repaid long ago! Nagaraj was considered a close aide of Siddaramaiah when he was in the Congress, but they fell out when the former decided to join the group of rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs who eventually brought down the previous coalition government.
Talking to reporters in Mandya before launching the election campaign in KR Pete on Thursday, Siddaramaiah sought to know when Nagaraj had given him the money as claimed and asked him to provide evidence if he had it. Nagaraj may have given loans to several Congress leaders during the 2018 assembly polls and many may have repaid it by now, he said, as an afterthought.
The former CM also took a swipe at the BJP claiming that as far as he knew, the disqualified MLA had given money to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to poach on Congress and the JD(S) legislators to topple the coalition government headed by then CM H.D. Kumaraswamy.
Nagaraj had not stopped at making the claim that he had given money to Siddaramaiah, K.H. Muniyappa and Byrathi Suresh, he went to the extent of providing details of the cheque given in Siddaramaiah's name. This had created a storm in political circles with BJP leaders attacking Congress leaders for their ‘double standards.’...