Last month the Karnataka Congress was left red-faced after a live mic caught two its leaders gossiping about alleged corruption by state unit chief DK Shivakumar.
Days later, the mics caught out Mr Shivakumar (and ex-Chief Minister Siddaramaiah) at a program in Bengaluru on October 31 to mark the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
In a video of the exchange that has emerged online, Mr Siddaramaiah can be heard asking about the absence of a portrait of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the country’s first Deputy Prime Minister, who was born on the same day Indira Gandhi was assassinated, albeit over a century earlier.
When told “we never keep the photo (of Sardar Patel)”, Mr Siddaramaiah indicates concern about criticism from the BJP. Mr Shivakumar then instructs his staff to put up a portrait of Sardar Patel too.
“Today it is his (Sardar Patel) birth anniversary,” Mr Siddaramaiah says in Kannada as he leans over to ask the Karnataka Congress chief, “There is no portrait of him?”
Mr Shivakumar responds: “Sir, yes… it is his birthday today also… but we never keep the photo.”
“But what happens with BJP (is) they will take advantage,” Mr Siddaramaiah says in English.
“Like we have not seen them (do it)… (turns to a staff member) Do you have a photo of Vallabhai Patel? Get it…” Mr Shivakumar then says.
“We will keep the photo,” he tells Mr Siddaramaiah, to which he responds: “Yes… it will be better.”
NDTV has not been able to independently verify the video that, according to news agency ANI, was released by BJP MLA and former minister MP Renukacharya.
The video has predictably drawn criticism from the BJP, with National General Secretary CT Ravi tweeting: “It is a shame that slaves are so much scared of an Italian” – a snide reference to opposition party chief Sonia Gandhi.
“If anyone had doubt how much the Nehru Dynasty hated Sardar Patel, this video clears it. CONgress leaders Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar agree to place photo of Sardar Patel along with that of Indira Gandhi fearing BJP,” he tweeted along with the video.
If anyone had doubt how much the Nehru Dynasty hated Sardar Patel, this video clears it.
It is a shame that Slaves are so much scared of an Italian. pic.twitter.com/ZiO3pUegGu
— C T Ravi ???????? ಸಿ ಟಿ ರವಿ (@CTRavi_BJP) November 24, 2021
Neither Mr Shivakumar, Mr Siddaramaiah nor the Congress have responded so far.
Earlier in October two Karnataka Congress leaders were caught on camera before a presser.
Unaware that the mics were live and that they were being recorded, they spoke about “adjustments” by Mr Shivakumar and an aide of his who “made around 50-100 crores”.
A video of the exchange was tweeted by the BJP’ Amit Malviya, who took a swipe at the Congress.
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
Mr Shivakumar did not deny the conversation but did deny the allegations.
The Congress responded by expelling one leader for six years and sending the other a show-cause notice; the latter leader, former MP VS Ugrappa later offered a clarification.
With input from ANI