Belagavi: A chance disclosure by Ashok Mahadevappa Pattan, Congress MLA from Ramdurg constituency and state government’s chief whip in the assembly, is likely to create a stir.
While speaking to mediapersons here on Saturday, he said that at the peak period of ‘Operation Kamala’ aimed at poaching MLAs from other parties in order to bolster its majority, top leaders of that party in the state had coaxed him to join them by making an offer of a whopping Rs 30 crore.
They had told him that a Lingayat leader was necessary to prop up the party in the state, as the then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s popularity was waning. This writer spoke to Pattan exclusively in the matter to seek more information on this episode.
The matter got a casual mention since the main subject of discussion was the Congress party’s campaign for the removal of Justice Subhash B Adi, the Upa Lokayukta. It was being said in private circles that being a Lingayat himself, Pattan should not have been a part of the campaign to remove a fellow Lingayat.
On his part, Pattan made it clear that as instructed by the leaders, he had only collected the signatures of the party MLAs for the removal of Justice Adi and did not have any role beyond that in the move. Besides, the charges against Justice Adi had been levelled by none other than Justice Majage, another Lingayat. Pattan told everyone not to bring in the question of caste into it.
When asked as to what made him stand firm even in the face of a mighty lure to the tune of Rs 30 crore, he said that his father Mahadevappa Pattan, a well-known freedom-fighter, is still active at the age of 104 years. Having been groomed in his mould of clean and principled public life, he could not make any compromise, he added.
His family members were cautious in saying much because his statement on Saturday had already been projected in a negative way by a few TV channels. Nontheless, they too vouched for his upright record and expressed sadness that all the good he had done so far was not mentioned in the coverage.
It was because of his association with the masses that he won the consecutive assembly elections in 2008 and 2013, which others had not been able to.
Ashok Pattan was happy to recall that his father and the late Kayyara Kinhanna Rai – from Peradala in the erstwhile undivided DK district but now in Kasaragod in Kerala – had joined hands with each other in the freedom struggle.
He counts among his good friends a number of DK’s politicians like former ministers B A Moideen and Subbayya Shetty.