BJP stages walkout over relief for drought-hit K'taka

BJP stages walkout over relief for drought-hit K'taka

Opposition accuses UPA govt of ignoring BJP-ruled state

BJP and the government today fought in the Lok Sabha over compensation to drought-hit Karnataka despite assurances that the Centre would be working out a package for the state at the earliest.

The issue of drought in Karnataka was raised by BJP member Ananth Kumar through a calling attention notice in Lok Sabha. Kumar alleged  that Congress-led UPA government at the Centre was “delaying compensation to the BJP-ruled states, which is facing severest drought condition in the last 42 years”.

BJP members including Prahlad Venkatesh Joshi, Shiv Kumar Udasi and Shivarama Gowda said that state government had demanded Rs 1,500 crore, 3 lakh metric tonnes of rice and 54,000 metric tonnes of wheat to be given to Karnataka as part of immediate relief, but government has not done anything in this regard.

Apprising about the steps taken by the government in this regard, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said that “an inter-ministerial constituted to assess the loss has visited the drought affected areas in Karnataka, we are expecting its report soon.”

“As soon as the team gives its report, the government will do its best to complete the work fast,” Rawat said, referring to the demand for compensation.

However, dissatisfied with the reply, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj announced the walkout of her party members.

“We had raised the issue through attention calling notice to get concrete assurance about the amount the compensation, quantity of wheat and rice to be delivered to Karnataka as relief measure, but the minister has failed to give any such assurance, therefore, we are walking out from the House as a mark of protest,”  Leader of Opposition Swaraj said.

Livid MPs

Earlier, while the issue was being discussed in Lok Sabha, the Parliament House witnessed heated arguments between BJP and Congress members.

While speaking about drought in Karnataka, Kumar sought to know when the government has given special packages for Vidarbha and Bundelkhan, “then why can’t such a package be given to Karnataka, when state is facing one of the worst droughts?”

He also targeted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who visited Karnataka last month.

“Nothing has been done. The six crore people of Karnataka have their own doubt whether Sonia Gandhi came there to sympathise or play politics,” he said. Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried to contest Kumar on the issue and said: “As the UPA chairperson, she has certainly talked with the government to look into the scarcity in not only Karnataka, but also in Maharashtra.”

Later, while addressing the media, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain alleged that the Congress was more interested in playing politics on the issue, saying that Karnataka is a BJP-ruled state, “therefore it is being discriminated even in drought situation.”

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