BSY dons role of 'Opposition leader'

Flays govt for its failure to tackle drought in State; seeks farm loan waiver

BSY dons role of 'Opposition leader'

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa sounded like an Opposition leader in the Assembly on Monday when he listed out a series of lapses of his party’s government in tackling drought and offering succour to the affected people.

He demanded that the government waive loans amounting to Rs 2,300 crore taken by farmers from co-operative banks. He wanted the government to set aside Rs 10,000 crore out of the Rs one lakh crore budget, for drought relief works.

He said before approaching the Centre to waive the loans taken from nationalised banks, the State should do its best to help farmers in distress.

Yeddyurappa, who spoke non-stop for 55 minutes during the discussion on drought, left his party colleagues speechless, while surprising the Opposition members. This was the first time he spoke in the House, after losing the post of chief minister.

It looked like the tirade was more against former chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who handled the drought situation from last November till recently, though he put the present chief minister Jagadish Shettar in a tight spot.

Yeddyurappa said the government had failed to tackle the drought and it should admit the same. If this continued, it would be difficult for the party to win the next elections.

The BJP leader hinted that the finance bill was at the risk of being defeated. “Before we even present another budget or get the finance bill passed, the government may collapse.

This government has presented a Rs one lakh crore budget, and the farmers are watching us. If we don’t get our act together, we are all in big trouble,” he warned.

Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa was present when Yeddyurappa was venting his ire against the present dispensation, while Shettar entered when he was about to conclude.

Yeddyurappa said he was responsible for many MLAs to be sitting in the treasury benches and that it automatically became his responsibility to highlight the wrongs of the government and suggest corrective measures.

“There is no politics in what I am saying today. I have been forced to break my silence, because the administrative machinery has collapsed.”

He proposed to work jointly with the Opposition leaders to address the crisis in the next eight months. He said he would start touring the drought-affected villages from August and invited Opposition leaders, including Siddaramaiah, to go with him.

No junkets

Referring to the MLAs’ and ministers’ plans to go on foreign trips, he said they should shelve them and focus on drought.

“Don’t indulge in this misadventure during such tough times. It will prove costly during the elections. If we don’t change our attitude and address the people’s problems, I fear none of us will re-enter this House.”

He said the officialdom from “top to bottom” remained lax and had no seriousness in handling drought and that they had to be pulled up.

He said it was unfortunate that the government had botched up the Suvarna Bhoomi scheme. Of the 10 lakh farmers identified under the scheme, only seven lakh had been covered under the scheme.

Three lakh farmers had not even received the second instalment amount.

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