The corruption case against BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa and his son Prashanth Madal V, a Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officer, has helped the Congress in the state to launch a virulent attack on the government.
The case, booked by the state Lokayukta, has provided additional ammunition to the Congress to revive its anti-BJP campaigns such as “PayCM”, a parody of the e-wallet, Paytm.
Posters resembling the design of the financial tech firm had appeared in parts of Bengaluru in September last year, accusing the government of corruption.
On Saturday, 4 March, Congress workers and leaders took out a massive rally, “March against Corruption”, accusing the BJP government of demanding a 40 percent commission for clearing the dues of contractors.
The rally, led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah, also demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on moral grounds.
MLA Virupakshappa’s son Prashanth, a chief accountant of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of ₹40 lakh from a contractor on Thursday, 2 March.
It has been alleged that he took the bribe on behalf of his father, the MLA from Channagiri in the Davanagere district.
The Lokayukta police also seized around ₹8.2 crore unaccounted cash from the MLA’s office on Crescent Road in Bengaluru and his son’s house at Dollars Colony in Bengaluru on Thursday and Friday.
Congress takes out march against corruption
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar, on Friday, 3 March, urged all party workers and leaders to gather at the organisation’s office at Vasanth Nagar.
He called for the “March Against Corruption” to the chief minister’s residence near Race Course, demanding his resignation.
Almost all senior Congress leaders, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala, MP, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah, Priyank Kharge, KJ George, Dinesh Gundurao, Rizwan Arshad, UB Venkatesh, Byrathi Suresh, and Krishna Byre Gowda were among those who arrived at the Congress office.
The protest march came close on the heels of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi levelling allegations of corruption against the Congress and JD(S) in Bengaluru.
Case soon after BJP promised corruption-free government
The BJP has been promising a clean governance if voted back to power. The raid on the BJP MLA and the arrest of his son has embarrassed the saffron party which is promising a non-corrupt government head of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections.
“It is not enough that you have arrested Prashanth Kumar. If you are ashamed even a bit, you should arrest the MLA, Madal Virupakshappa, immediately,” Siddaramaiah demanded while urging Bommai to own up moral responsibility and resign.
“The BJP government has been lying to the people of Karnataka,” the Congress leader said.
Youth Congress and Mahila Congress members initiated a poster campaign, accusing the BJP of demanding and collecting 40 percent commission on public works.
The posters termed the BJP Brasht (Corrupt) Janata Party, and called the government, BBG, Bhrastasur Bommai Government. “The struggle to cleanse #Karnataka of the curse of #40PercentSarkara shall continue,” the posters said.
The party workers, who marched to Bommai’s residence, raised anti-BJP slogans.
Opposition demands MLA Virupakshappa’s arrest
“The demand is not only for the resignation of CM Bommai, but also for the arrest of Channagri BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa,” KPCC working president Ramalinga Reddy told South First.
“Scandals such as PSI scam, contractors’ plight, and suicide of contractor Santhosh, were raised at the public meeting. Modi and Amit Shah will not speak about corruption, and it is to encourage corruption in the state,” he added.
More than 50 people were arrested for allegedly cheating in the police sub-inspector (PSI) recruitment exam held on 3 October, 2021.
“Congress March Against Corruption” at #Bangalore today sought resignation of CM, Basavaraj Bommai !
THE NEW NAMES & Meaning👇
BJP – BHRASHT JANATA PARTY !
BBG – BHRASHTASUR BOMMAI GOVT !
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 4, 2023
“Your government is plundering the state. Your ministers, chief minister and the chairman of various boards and corporations have been directed to collect a definite amount. According to my information, the BJP is set to spend ₹100 crore in each constituency,” Siddaramaiah alleged.
Alleging that the BJP had spent ₹40 crore to ₹50 crore in the by-election alone, the former chief minister said the ruling party wants to win the election through money power. He urged the people to teach the BJP a lesson in the upcoming election.
Siddaramaiah slammed Amit Shah for suggesting that the previous Congress government led by him had used Karnataka as “an ATM for a family”.
“You called my government an ATM government. Now, Mr Shah what will you say about this? Without any evidence, you make allegations, but here we have a solid proof,” the former chief minister alleged.
He said the Congress does not need to take any lessons from Shah.
Siddaramaiah also challenged Prime Minister Modi to use the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department against BJP leaders the way central agencies were reportedly used against the Opposition leaders.
“Is there any instance of the contractors’ association, unaided schools’ association and the pontiffs of various ashrams and mathas writing to the prime minister that 40 percent commission is being demanded? Enough is enough of your 40 percent government,” he added.
The protest rally was taken out in the afternoon after the public meeting. The police detained the leaders and workers and whisked them away. The police were deployed in large numbers.