In what is either a display of misplaced bravado, or a Freudian slip, the chief of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, T.A. Narayana Gowda, has admitted that “money power” had to be used in securing the victory of a Kannada-speaking corporator as mayor of the Belgaum City Corporation for the first time in 17 years, earlier this month.
In a 58-strong House dominated by members of the Maharashtra Ekikarana Samithi, Prashantha Budvi beat the MES’ Neelima Pavshe by a slender margin of two votes, after Kannada and Urdu speaking corporators, numbering 29 in all, formed a forum called the Sarva Bhashik Samavichar Vedike. The deputy mayorship went too in favour of Yunus Momin of the Vedike, by an identical margin, 30-28.
The victory has been painted as a major victory for Kannada forces, with the newly elected mayor and deputy mayor being felicitated with great fanfare in Bangalore. But, in an admission that could have serious ramifications, Narayana Gowda has publicly admitted that money was used to lure a corporator.
“To get the support of an Urdu speaking corporator, the need arose to pay Rs 25 lakh,” Gowda has been quoted as saying by Vijaya Karnataka, at a function in Arsikere.
Gowda has not revealed who paid the money, or to whom, but the paper reports that the disclosure has sowed several doubts in the minds of self-respecting Kannadigas.