Belagavi: It is possible that Housing Minister M H Ambareesh could help the BJP deflect criticism from it, over one of its members, Prabhu Chavan, watching a picture of Priyanka Gandhi on his smartphone in the Assembly.
This, after a picture of the actor-turned-politician kissing a girl was circulated on WhatsApp. There is no confirmation on the authenticity of the image yet. The minister, though, appeared unfazed.
“I have relationship with 350 girls, so what?” This is how he reacted on Thursday to the issue.
The minister appeared to have no qualms about the photograph being circulated.
“If the photograph has been sent to Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice president), let them do it. I have no problem. It is my private life. I have not done it inside the House. I dance with a lot of girls in cinema,” he said. It has now surfaced that he, along with former minister and Congress MLA S S Mallikarjun, was watching a video in the Assembly on Wednesday evening – probably about the same time when BJP’s Prabhu Chavan was zooming in on Priyanka Gandhi‘s images. Though some TV news channels aired live images of the minister holding a cellphone, they could not show what exactly he was watching.
The BJP has been charging that the two Congress leaders were watching the video of Ambareesh enjoying a popular number of a Hindi movie in a bar. This video has also been widely circulated in social media. It is said the video was shot in a Bengaluru bar recently. But another version is that it was recorded several months ago in a bar in his home district Mandya.
Asked about charges of his watching a video inside the House, Ambareesh said, “Discussion on the sugar cane issue was over in the House. At that time Mallikarjun came to me and asked me to see a message on his mobile phone. But he was not able to open it. I told him I am not interested and sent him away,” he claimed.
Controversy has become the middle name of the ‘Rebel Star’ ever since he became a minister. He recently embarrassed the government and drew criticism for calling a woman IAS officer fair and beautiful at a public function in Mandya.
Ambareesh was accused of getting a Mandya Urban Development Authority site allotted for himself by bending rules. He and his family have illegally got three such sites allotted, it was charged. The actor-politician had faced flak for having got his hefty medical bills of Rs 1.16 crore cleared by the government, using his clout as a minister. He underwent month-long treatment in Singapore early this year.
He had recently embarrassed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah by openly commenting on his decision to nominate heads to boards and corporations. Ambareesh, who was upset over his followers from Mandya district not being nominated, had complained that the chief minister did not consult him while selecting names for the nominations.
It is said that certain Congress workers have written a letter to Digvijay Singh, in charge of Congress affairs in Karnataka, alleging that Ambareesh had time for going to bars, but not to attend the meetings of the Cabinet.
They have alleged that the government had cleared the minister’s medical bills worth crores of rupees, but he had no time to attend to official work. Members of the Ahinda Yuva Vedike, Mandya district, have written to Rahul Gandhi, about Ambareesh’s indiscretions.
Replying to a query by reporters, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that he condemns the act of Housing Minister allegedly watching cellphone in the Assembly on Wednesday.
“Where did Ambareesh see and what did he see? If he has done it, then we will advise him not repeat it,” he added.