Given his visit to Karnataka on Friday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah should have been the BJP leader to hit the headlines. Since Thursday evening, however, it is BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa whose name has been flashing on TV screens.
The two-time BJP MLA BJP has been named in an FIR by the Lokayukta in a bribery case in which his son Prashanth — a KAS officer — was caught red-handed.
Since Thursday evening, ₹2.2 crore and ₹6.1 crore unaccounted cash have been seized from BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa’s office and his son’s residence respectively by Lokayukta. Prashanth, a chief accountant at BWSSB, was caught red-handed while taking a bribe of ₹40 lakh on Thursday.
After the Lokayukta crackdown, MLA Virupakshappa resigned from the post of the chairman of the Karnataka Soaps and Detergent Limited (KSDL) — makers of the iconic Mysore Sandal Soap — on Friday but not before deeming the Lokayukta action a “conspiracy” against his family.
Who is Madal Virupakshappa?
Madal Virupakshappa is a BJP MLA from Channagiri constituency in Karnataka’s Davangere and until Friday morning, was the chairperson of KSDL.
The two-time MLA was first given a ticket by BJP with the support of BS Yediyurappa in 2008 from the same seat. In 2008, he won from Channagiri and entered the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. According to documents he has submitted to the Election Commission ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls, his assets were worth ₹5.73 crores.
A staunch BS Yediyurappa loyalist, Virupakshappa was among those who quit the BJP to follow the former when he split from the party in 2012.
Joined BS Yediyurappa’s party
Madal Virupakshappa, who hails from the Lingayat community, had joined BS Yediyurappa when he floated his own regional party Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) to take on the BJP in the 2013 Assembly elections in Karnataka.
He contested on a KJP ticket from Channagiri constituency in 2013 but lost the election. However, the split in votes led to disastrous results for the BJP as well and Congress’s Vadnal Rajanna emerged victorious in the 2013 Assembly elections.
How did Madal Virupakshappa become chairman of KDSL?
Madal Virupakshappa returned to the BJP when BS Yediyurappa too came back to the party.
In 2018, once again with Yediyurappa’s backing, he contested the Channagiri seat successfully on a BJP ticket.
In 2021 when the BJP central leadership moved to replace Yediyurappa, Virupakshappa was among the vocal voices in his support, warning the party leadership of electoral losses if he were removed as chief Minister.
As a reward for his loyalty, then chief minister Yediyurappa in December 2020 had appointed Madal Virupakshappa and 12 other MLAs to various boards and corporations.