Karnataka BJP leaders accuse each other of money-making

Bangalore, March 26 (IANS) Karnataka’s ruling BJP was Tuesday hit by new allegations of money-making by its leaders with Excise Minister M. P. Renukacharya claiming he had given huge amounts to former chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda. Gowda dismissed the claims.

Renukacharya, who is expected to quit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and join former party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s camp soon, did not give details of when and how much money he gave to Gowda and for what reasons.
“I have documents (on giving money to Gowda) and will release them in a day or two,” he told reporters in his home town Honnali in central Karnataka district of Davangere, about 250 km from Bangalore.
Renukacharya also accused a prominent state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader of minting money after BJP came to power in Karnataka for the first time in May 2008.
Gowda, however, rubbished Renukacharya’s claims and told reporters in Bangalore that “everybody knows Renukacharya’s character”.
He recalled that when he was the chief minister, he had ordered a probe into allegations that Renukacharya was involved in corruption in the excise ministry.
Gowda succeeded Yeddyurappa in August 2011 but was forced out of office July last year following Yeddyurappa’s rebellion.
Renukacharya indicated that he was all set to quit BJP and join Karnataka Janata Party headed by Yeddyurappa.
“I will announce my decision Friday,” he said.
The attack on Gowda comes as BJP is busy selecting candidates for the May 5 polls to the 225-member assembly. Of the 225 seats, 224 are elected and one nominated.
State BJP leaders led by president Pralhad Joshi Tuesday met in Bangalore to start the candidate selection process.
“We will meet again on March 28 and 29 to finalise the names and forward them to the party central leaders for approval,” Joshi told reporters here after the meeting.
Meanwhile the Congress, the main challenger to BJP, continued the candidate selection exercise in New Delhi for the second day Tuesday.
The party is expected to shortlist the candidates Wednesday and send the names to party president Sonia Gandhi for approval.
The nominations open April 10 and close 17. Vote count is on May 8.