After cutting short the Karnataka Assembly session in order to assess the damage in the flood-ravaged state, chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa along with the other top brass of the BJP-led government, have taken off for Maharashtra to campaign ahead of the October 21 state elections.
While state deputy Ashwath Narayan has already kick-started his campaign, Yediyurappa left for Maharashtra on Wednesday. Deputy Chief Minister Laxamn Savadi is also expected to join the two in the upcoming days. During his visit, the CM is scheduled to attend public meetings in Sangli, Solapur and Latur districts of the state.
The decision has drawn the ire of many, with the opposition accusing the Karnataka government of ignoring the devastation caused, adding that none of the ministers have attended to the needs of the flood-afflicted people, even after promising in the Assembly that they will visit the ravaged parts of the state and provide assistance.
“This government did not want to face the assembly, they do not believe in having debate. Serious issues about flood or budget aren’t discussed. Nothing was done. They just took vote on account and took that into account,” said KPCC president, Dinesh Gundu Rao.
He slammed the BJP for its “fascist approach”, adding that this time, their true intentions laid exposed. “They had time to have an assembly session for another week, but giving such excuses has exposed them. Whenever the assembly convenes again, we will see, but this attitude of the BJP, the way they are handling the media and attacking the media is wrong,” he said.
The ruling party, however, has hit back and defended the move saying that the CM is merely going for a two-day visit to the neighboring state – a move which in no sense implies ignorance of their duties and responsibilities towards the state.
“Yediurppa will be in Maharashtra just for two days. All the remaining ministers, MLAs and MPs will be visiting the flood-hit districts of Karnataka in the meantime. I personally am to visit these areas as well. This is the work of MLAs and we are ensuring it’s done,” said state revenue minister R Ashok.
The minister further accused the opposition of misconstruing Yediurappa’s absence. “The CM has already visited the flood-ravaged areas twice and he will visit again,” he said.
The campaign by Karnataka BJP leaders is also seen as a way of thanking their counterparts in Maharashtra for helping them provide police protection to the disqualified MLAs who were camping in the neighboring state, and for keeping senior Congress leader and trouble shooter, DK Shivakumar from meeting them. These former MLAs’ resignation and absence during the trust vote helped BJP come to power in the state.
Canvassing for votes, the Karnataka leaders are expected to target the Lingayat voters and Kannada speaking population in Maharashtra. The votes for the Maharashtra assembly polls 2019 will be counted on October 24.