Terming Karnataka BJP’s drought study tour as “farce”, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday accused it of using the drought situation for ‘petty political gains’.
Siddaramaiah alleged delay in the release of central funds, and asked BJP leaders to at least arrange an appointment for him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, if they don’t have the courage to talk to him.
The BJP has formed 17 teams headed by leaders, including former CM B S Yediyurappa, to tour all 33 districts of the state and assess the drought situation from November 3 to 10. The party said it will submit a report to the government and seek time in the next Assembly session for a debate on the issue.
“The new drought study tour of BJP leaders of Karnataka is a farce. While the ones who should provide drought relief are seated in Delhi, these state BJP leaders are undertaking a drought study tour within the state instead of appealing to their bosses in the union government,” Siddaramaiah said in a statement.
“Dear BJP leaders, your very own party’s government had sent a team of experts from Delhi to study the drought situation in Karnataka. But now, you are undertaking a tour for the same purpose. Don’t you trust your own government’s drought study team?” he asked.
The Karnataka government has estimated loss due to the drought to be around Rs 33,770 crore and has requested Rs 17,901 crore relief from the union government. Noting that “unfortunately” the state has not received even a single paisa as relief,” the CM said, “Dear BJP leaders, if you genuinely care about the farmers of the state, first demand from your government. How many BJP MPs have written a letter to the Prime Minister demanding the relief funds for Karnataka?”
He charged the BJP with hoodwinking the innocent people of Karnataka by claiming that if the ‘double engine’ government comes to power, the state would witness unprecedented development.
Averring that the BJP managed to win 25 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections, he said, “What are these MPs doing? Why are they sitting idle? Have they ever raised their voice against the injustice done to the state by the union government?” BJP leaders should be touring Delhi, not the state, he said. “Take your 25 Lok Sabha members to Delhi, meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and question him if needed, and ask for the relief funds. If you don’t have the courage to talk to him, at least arrange an appointment for me with the Prime Minister.”
“After causing injustice to Karnataka on the issues of land, water and language, do BJP leaders have any shame left to tour the state? Drought-affected people don’t need your empty words of consolation; they need relief. How can the people accept you when you’re using the drought situation for petty political gains?” he asked.
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said let the BJP leaders take steps to ensure that the state receive relief funds from the central government at the earliest. “Let the BJP study the drought situation, there is nothing wrong, let them get the relief funds from the Centre. Let them ensure that the state gets relief funds in accordance with the report submitted by the Revenue and Agriculture Minister. The union government should be liberal while releasing funds as per norms,” he said.