The BJP government in Karnataka, led by BS Yediyurappa, was the target of the Opposition's scathing criticism on Thursday as Congress and JD(S) leaders slammed the chief minister for his absence, and a dysfunctional state government. Yediyurappa, who was in Delhi at a time when Karnataka is reeling under a flood-like situation for the past week, has been running a one-man government even though two weeks have passed since he came to power.
Yediyurappa is reportedly in New Delhi to discuss the appointments of ministerial berths with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, but the death of party leader and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to have delayed the process.
Reportedly, the flood relief and evacuation measures were being monitored and run by the district collectors (DCs) in the absence of a cabinet and council of ministers. A political crisis was set in motion last month after 16 MLAs of the then-coalition government resigned from their posts. Former Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified the Congress and JD(S) MLAs before the government fell and the BJP staked claim to the Chair.
Some of the constituencies who are facing the absence of an elected representative and are struggling with heavy rainfall are Kagwad, Athani, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur and Ranebennur, reports said. Nearly 26,000 people being evacuated and five people killed in rain-related incidents in the past three days.
"The disaster relief operations in the state have been managed by Gangaram Baderiya, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management who is receiving daily updates from the DCs of affected districts," The News Minute reported.
The report also quoted sources as saying that "the absence of a cabinet and district ministers has affected the flood relief efforts".
On Thursday, Congress leader Siddaramaiah questioned the BJP state leader over measures taken to address an "evident slump" in the automobile industry of the state. He tweeted, "Karnataka is one of the leading states in the automobile industry, employing more than 60,000 direct and more than a lakh indirect workforce. With an evident slump in the industry, what are the domestic measures taken by BS Yediyurappa to address the issue and reduce job cuts."
Using the hashtag '#ZeroCabinetCM', the former chief minister also accused the BJP of driving the people of the state "to misery". "Lack of will at the Centre and the lack of a cabinet in the state, is driving us to misery. If wielding power is the only motivation for BJP, they should sit at home and allow others to work. A mockery of democracy and innocent people is the only act which BJP is good at," he said.
Lack of will at the centre &lack of cabinet in the state, is driving us to misery. If wielding power is the only motivation for @BJP4India, they should sit at home &allow others to work.
A mockery of democracy &innocent people is the only act which BJP is good at.#ZeroCabinetCM
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 8, 2019
The JD(S) also slammed the BJP on Thursday referring to 'Operation Kamala', the alleged horse-trading efforts of the saffron party in the state. "A special arrangements to send disgruntled MLAs to Mumbai, but not even one helicopter to help poor people suffering (due to the floods) today. A five-star hotel for disgruntled MLAs to stay in Mumbai, but not even a porridge centre for the poor has been set up today!" the party tweeted.
The situation continued to remain grim as the floodgates were opened in the dams in neighbouring Maharashtra and barrages and reservoirs in Karnataka, where road and rail links remain hit following incessant monsoon rains.
Two people each have been killed in Belagavi and Uttar Kannada districts, and one in Shivamogga, taking the toll to five since Monday, PTI reported. The rescue teams, including personnel from Fire and Emergency, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Army, moved people from flood-affected areas to safety.
On Wednesday, the Opposition also accused the government of "inaction" in dealing with the flood situation. "Terrible floods in many parts of Karnataka. And the chief minister is away politicking in Delhi", former Minister and Congress MLA, Krishna Byre Gowda, said. "No minister even to attend to flood problems," he said.
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy questioned the 'absence' of Yedyiurappa. "There are floods in many parts of Karnataka. I need to ask, Ellidiyappa Yediyurappa (Where are you Yediyurappa)?" he said at a meeting of JD(S).
The Opposition party, headed by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, tweeted: "12 days since the new government, but the BJP still hasn't given Karnataka a cabinet. the government is missing".
Reportedly, Yediyurappa, took stock of the flood situation in Belgagavi last week. PTI quoted government sources as rejecting the charge of Congress and JD(S). They noted that Yediyurappa had earlier this week conducted an aerial survey of the affected regions in North Karnataka.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 08, 2019 13:03:21 IST