From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Jun 19: In view of the allegations levelled by ruling BJP leaders on the tenders floated for a whopping Rs 20,000 crore in the irrigation department by flouting all rules and norms, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D K Shivakumar has demanded a probe by constituting a Joint Legislature Committee.
Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Saturday, Shivakumar said Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has tacitly admitted the veracity of the allegations by remaining silent on the issue.
The State Congress Chief was at his sarcastic best when he charged that "the party chanting Lord Ram’s name is indulging in epics Ramayana and Mahabharata,’’ and ridiculed BJP for its "constant infighting which is a never ending saga.’’
“What I had predicted on the floor of the Assembly (during the debate on the trust vote) before this government was formed has now come true,’’ he said pointing out that "Karnataka is famous for health tourism. Now it has been converted into Hell Tourism. People are struggling to get jobs and livelihood has become impossible. The Covid pandemic has resulted in loss of 30 lakh jobs in the State.’’
The KPCC chief said more and more BJP leaders must be allowed to speak freely as they themselves are revealing the happenings in the government. As ruling party members, the BJP leaders know much more and they disclose all murky deals in the government.
“I too have information about the allegation made by BJP MLC A H Vishwanath on the irregularities in the irrigation department and have information about preparation of Rs 20 crore estimate for works amounting to Rs 10 crore. How this government has given approvals by flouting all rules despite the financial crisis?’’ he asked and mentioned that he wanted to raise all issues in the House and was waiting and watching all developments.
Shivakumar said the Chief Minister has indirectly accepted the charges by choosing to remain silent. “Let the Chief Minister agree for a joint legislature committee probe to bring out the truth. The joint legislature committee can be headed by anybody in BJP. We have no objection. But let there be BJP, Congress and JD(S) members from both houses. Your (Chief Minister’s) seat is very stable and there is no problem in convening the legislature session. People have watched the dramatic scenes from the Airport to Kumara Krupa Guest House (where BJP national general secretary and state in charge Arun Singh was staying),’’ he said.
The KPCC Chief said neighbouring Kerala has already commenced its monsoon legislature session. Tamil Nadu is commencing its sitting from June 21, Monday. “If the Chief Minister does not want the presence of members in House, let the session be convened virtually as all meetings held by Prime Minister. At the most, there will be a maximum of 300 persons and holding a virtual session should not be a problem. Let your party members speak and you can give any clarifications. The facts must be placed before the people. If you cannot make arrangements for a virtual session, we are ready to help and make all arrangements,’’ he said.
Shivakumar said he does not want to use all the remarks and expletives used by BJP members, including unparliamentary language and charges of corruption.
When there was allegation of phone tapping during the H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-Congress coalition regime, one of the first decisions taken by Yediyurappa after forming government was entrusting the investigation into phone tapping to the CBI.
“When ruling party MLA Aravind Bellad has openly alleged phone tapping, why the government has asked the Bengaluru city Police Commissioner to conduct a probe? I expected the Police Commissioner to conduct impartial investigation. But he has belied all expectations. After getting a promotion, he has hurriedly hushed several cases,’’ he said and asserted that the Congress party will take a decision on its future course of action.
Shivakumar recalled Revenue Minister R Ashok’s remarks when he had alleged phone tapping saying: "It (phone tapping) is Congress culture. Now when BJP MLA Aravind Bellad has levelled phone tapping allegation, can BJP explain what culture it is? I don’t want to talk about my phone tapping nor interested in talking about the number of Central agencies behind him.’’
The KPCC Chief demanded that the State Government should conduct a death audit to know the actual number of people who lost their lives due to Covid pandemic and provide monetary compensation of Rs 1 lakh to each of the family of all deceased persons as sanctioned by the government.
He asked the partymen to find out details of people who died due to Covid in every village and submit details to the Tahshildars concerned with applications for grant of Rs 1 lakh compensation and also provide the details to the party so that pressure will be mounted on the government to sanction relief.
The State Government should make an assessment of the losses due to the pandemic, he said demanded that the monetary compensations announced by the Chief Minister must be provided without delay.
He pointed out that many of people of the deceased had not disclosed the Covid deaths in view of the fact that the dead bodies were not being released to them and the authorities were also hiding facts as the government was not interested in disclosing the numbers of deaths fearing payment of compensation. “Therefore, it is necessary that dependents of the deceased persons must submit applications with affidavits before the Tahshildars concerned for payment compensation,’’ he said.
Talking about Congress party, he said the party would face the next assembly elections under collective leadership. Several leaders including himself, Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjuna Kharge, G Parameshwar and many others might be keen on becoming Chief Ministers, which is natural. But the focus of the State party is working for the welfare of the people and winning their confidence to return to power.
“I have made it abundantly clear that party is important to me and I will do my best to serve the people and bring back the party to power,’’ he declared.
Earlier, the KPCC organized "Vaccinate Karnataka’’ to mark the birthday of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The party wants to ensure that all persons in the State get vaccinated to protect themselves.
Shivakumar said the Narendra Modi government did not accept any of the suggestions made by Rahul Gandhi and instead ridiculed him. If the suggestions were accepted and implemented, the present serious situation could have been averted. The country can safeguard itself if at least 80% of all eligible above 18 persons get vaccinated, he said.
KPCC Media Cell Chief B L Shankar and Co-Chief V R Sudarshan were present.