From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Belagavi, Dec 8: In the escalating controversy over BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal attacking Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for sharing a dais with the alleged "terrorist" Moulvi Tanvir Hashmi by releasing the photo in social media and demanding the Chief Minister’s resignation for his alleged links with the ISIS-tainted Moulvi, the Chief Minister has now claimed that Yatnal’s "real target" is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sharing the photographs of Modi with the Moulvi on social media, Siddaramaiah said Modi as well as other BJP leaders "may have connections with Moulvi Hashmi" and pointed out that Yatnal has raised the issue ostensibly to tarnish his image but his "real target is the Prime Minister.’’
"Yatnal has raised the issue of Moulvi Hashmi to damage Modi as he is upset and angry at not being considered in the appointment of State BJP President or as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly for which he had lobbied,’’ Siddaramaiah said.
"It looks unlikely that Yatnal, who has been a close associate of Hashmi for a long time besides being his neighbour in the locality, was unaware of this (when he raised the issue)," the Chief Minister said.
"Angered and frustrated after losing the positions of the State BJP President and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Yatnal appears to have made the allegations against me," the chief minister said and mentioned that "Yatnal appears to have made these allegations against me with the actual intent of taking revenge against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah."
Siddaramaiah pointed out that following Yatnal’s allegation, "the details of Modi’s connection with Moulvi have come to light, which Yatnal was undoubtedly aware of" and the "nature of allegations suggests an attempt to create embarrassment for the Prime Minister and other BJP leaders."
"I have openly acknowledged my friendly relationship with Maulvi Hashmi. Maulvi Hashmi himself has challenged the Union Government to investigate the allegations against him. Now, PM Narendra Modi must respond to the accusations against him. Should there be any truth to the claims about Maulvi Tanveer Hashmi's connections with ISIS, it is imperative for the PM to order a thorough investigation and disclose any related details. If this is not done, then action must be taken against Yatnal for making such false accusations,’’ he demanded.
The Chief Minister mentioned, "This is not the first time that Yatnal has made such accusations. He has previously made detailed accusations against former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his children. He has even made a serious allegation that to become the Chief Minister in BJP, one needs to pay Rs 2,000 crore to the party's high command. What power lies behind Yatnal's ability to openly make accusations against senior leaders of his own party?’’
"It must also be revealed which ‘Ji’s in the BJP are supporting him in making these defamatory accusations against his party colleagues and yet managing to escape unscathed," he asked.
According to today's newspaper reports, the Chief Minister said: "It has been revealed that Yatnal has business ties with the family of Maulvi Tanveer Hashmi. If, as Yatnal alleges, Tanveer Hashmi has connections with ISIS, then didn't Yatnal, being a business partner with Hashmi, know about it? What is the reason for his silence even if he knew? The Union Government must also investigate the reasons behind making such accusations after so much time. #YatnalAgainstBJP."
It may be recalled that former BJP Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had urged the State Government to entrust the investigation into the episode to the Centre’s National Investigation Agency (NIA).