Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday cancelled his visit to Karnataka — for a review of the security situation there — after Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa put off their meeting for the third time in four days. The CM’s reason was that he would be going to his constituency.
A statement by the home minister’s office said Chidambaram was told the meeting — scheduled for Saturday — was off just before he was to board a flight to Bangalore from Mumbai.
Chidambaram’s plan to visit Bangalore was part of the ministry’s review of the security situation and preparedness of every state. He held meetings in Hyderabad and Mumbai on Friday and planned to be in Bangalore by evening. He was scheduled to return to Delhi on Tuesday after a visit to Tamil Nadu as well. However, he will now return on Saturday itself.
The statement said the Karnataka government first turned down Chidambaram’s suggestion to hold the meeting on March 4. Instead, it suggested March 5, and the minister accepted. But the state government conveyed on March 3 that this date too was not convenient for the CM. “The home minister accepted this and requested the government of Karnataka once again to suggest another date,” the statement said, adding that Saturday’s meeting was fixed at the CM’s convenience.
However, state Home Minister Dr VS Acharya responded to the statement by saying: “We have been waiting for him (Chidambaram) and had clarified that I would stand in in case the CM isn’t there. This afternoon, we informed his office I would take part in the meeting on Saturday. We are shocked to learn about his decision to cancel the visit.”
Yeddyurappa, for his part, told PTI: “I did not cancel the meeting, Chidambaram did. He postponed the meeting on three occasions earlier... I need not be present at the meeting. I had authorised Home Minister VS Acharya to attend it.”
With inputs from HTC, Bangalore and PTI