Amit Shah blames Siddaramaiah for delay in drought relief funds to Karnataka | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Amit Shah blames Siddaramaiah for delay in drought relief funds to Karnataka

By, Bengaluru
Apr 03, 2024 08:01 AM IST

Karnataka has declared 223 out of 240 taluks as drought-hit; 196 of them were categorised as severely drought-affected

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that the delay in releasing drought relief funds to Karnataka was due to the delay by the state government in submitting the proposal late by three months and criticised the Siddaramaiah-led government for politicising the issue.

Union home minister Amit Shah with BJP senior leader B S Yeddyurappa, party state president B Y Vijayendra, opposition leader R Ashok and others during the party's Karnataka Shakti Kendra Pramukh meeting, at Palace Ground in Bengaluru on Tuesday. (ANI)
Union home minister Amit Shah with BJP senior leader B S Yeddyurappa, party state president B Y Vijayendra, opposition leader R Ashok and others during the party's Karnataka Shakti Kendra Pramukh meeting, at Palace Ground in Bengaluru on Tuesday. (ANI)

Addressing party workers and leaders in Bengaluru, Shah said, “There is a drought in Karnataka, they (state government) were late by three months in sending a proposal to the central government, and today the application for drought relief from the Centre is with the Election Commission. They (Congress government) are doing politics over it.”

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Karnataka has declared 223 out of 240 taluks as drought-hit; 196 of them were categorised as severely drought-affected. However, the minister’s claims were contrary to the Karnataka government’s writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking immediate release of relief funds, citing the submission of proposals to the Centre as early as September 22, 2023, followed by supplementary memorandums in October and November.

Responding to Shah’s remarks, chief minister Siddaramaiah challenged Shah’s moral authority to seek votes from Karnataka’s electorate. He accused the BJP-led central government of neglecting the state’s interests, particularly regarding the delayed release of drought relief funds.

“Let Amit Shah come or Narendra Modi (PM) come or J P Nadda (BJP President) come. Let any one come. Amit Shah is the head of the high power committee, has he given drought relief? What moral right does he have to ask for votes from the people of Karnataka?” Siddaramaiah asked while talking to reporters.

He further said that it has been five months since his government first approached the Centre seeking drought relief but not even a rupee has been given to the state. Three memorandums have been given since October; also the central team had come for inspection and they had submitted their report to the union government, he pointed out.

“I had personally met PM Narendra Modi on December 19, Amit Shah on December 20, he had said he will call a meeting and decide on December 23 itself. How many days have passed since then? Did they give? It has been five months, till now they have not given drought relief. Is Amit Shah giving the money from his house? Is it a ‘Bhikshe’ (alms)? It’s our money, our tax money,” the Chief Minister added.

During this visit to Karnataka, Shah also criticised the internal power struggle within the Karnataka Congress, highlighting the tensions between the CM and deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar. “Chief minister Siddaramaiah is busy trying to save his chair while deputy CM DK Shivakumar is busy trying to snatch the chair from the CM. The tussle is being witnessed daily. The Congress government is neither bothered about the development of the State nor protecting the interests of people,” said Shah.

Shah also held a joint meeting with leaders from the JD(S) and state BJP, signalling efforts to strengthen coordination between the alliance partners ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, former minister and BJP leader KS Eshwarappa, known for his recent dissent against the BJP in Karnataka, said that he received a call from Union home minister. Following this call, Eshwarappa revealed to the media at his residence in Shivamogga that Shah had invited him to Delhi for consultations. “I have clearly explained to him the reasons that forced me to take this decision. He asked me to come to Delhi. When seniors invite me, I respect them. I will go and meet him on April 3,” he said.

Elaborating on the conversation with Shah, Eshwarappa said he listed out the reasons for his decision. The BJP in Karnataka had been going the Congress way though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been fighting against the Congress, which is in the control of one family. “The same thing is happening in Karnataka. The BJP is in the clutches of one family. My contest is to free the party from one family,” he said.

“The people who stood for Hindutva have been sidelined. They have not been given tickets. Leaders from backward classes have not been given opportunities to contest. My contest is to cleanse the party. I will convey these things again on April 3,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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