Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has asked the JDS-Congress government in the state to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the audio tapes released by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Kumar said he wants himself to be seen as above suspicion as the tape had mentioned him being ‘settled’. The SIT will submit its report within 15 days, reports said. However, the BJP has objected to the formation of the SIT saying that the government is part of it, hence its trustworthiness was under suspicion.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had written to Speaker Kumar seeking an inquiry into the matter that has raised political temperatures in the state ahead of parliamentary elections due by May. Former chief minister and Karnataka BJP chief Yeddyurappa has denied these charges and said the voice in the audio tape was fabricated and doctored.

Earlier in the day, Congress MPs from Karnataka including Mallikarjun Kharge staged a protest against the BJP government in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Parliament complex. The Congress parliamentarians alleged that the BJP has been involved in poaching attempts to topple the Congress-JDS combine government in Karnataka. They also shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

The issue of horse trading in Karnataka echoed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, with former prime minister and JDS leader HD Deve Gowda asserting that BJP has been indulging in Operation Kamala since 2009.

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