'Crisis has affected relief works'

Political imbroglio: MLAs camping in Hyderabad are monitoring situation over phone

Many of the MLAs, who are camping in Hyderabad, are from the flood-hit districts of North Karnataka. While some of them feel that their absence is affecting the flood relief works, others argue that they have been monitoring the works over phone.

When Deccan Herald spoke to a few of them on Monday, conflicting versions came out about the exact number of MLAs camping in Hyderabad. While one of them claimed 59 MLAs were in Hyderabad, another put the number at 43. However, most of them said they want Jagadish Shettar to replace Yeddyurappa.
They were confident that the party high command would settle the issue by Tuesday. They offered to return to the state only after that. Their common grouse against Yeddyurappa was that he did not listen to them whenever they approached him with their demands.

Identity crisis

Kagwada MLA Raju Kage said, “We will all stand in front of the CM. Let him call all of us by our names. I will take a bet he can’t identify most of us. If at all he identifies all of us, we will go with him.” He said, forget attending to MLAs’ demands related to their constituencies, the Chief Minister hardly acknowledged their presence whenever they visited his residence or the office. Siruguppa MLA Somalingappa’s allegations are no different. Siruguppa was one of the worst-hit in the floods. The MLA said, during the floods he tried to contact the CM over phone five times.

But the secretaries did not give him phone. “If an MLA has to struggle so much to reach the CM, imagine the plight of a common man,” he asked.

In 1992, Siruguppa witnessed similar floods. Veerappa Moily had taken oath as CM on the day when the taluk was hit by floods. The first thing the then CM did after taking oath was to visit Siruguppa. “This time the severity was much more compared to the floods in 1992. But the CM did not visit our taluk,” he said.
Somalingappa admits that his absence in the taluk has affected the flood relief works to a certain extent. “It was unavoidable. We are here with a demand for change in the leadership. As soon as the issue is settled we will go back to our constituencies,” he said. However, he maintained that he had been monitoring the works over phone. He said he was in constant touch with officers and general public. Raju Kage argued that workers of his party were following up the works in the flood-hit villages.

Chandrashekhar Patil Revoor of Gulbarga South said the CM’s behaviour forced the MLAs to take this step forgetting the flood relief works.
“Yeddyurappa never took our requests seriously. He is surrounded by a few ministers and a set of officers. It is difficult to reach him,” he said.

Who will foot the bill?

The Reddy camp MLAs are in Novotel, a hotel on the outskirts of Hyderabad. They are spending time watching news on television to keep themselves updated on political developments in Bangalore and Delhi. Except morning walk in the hotel premises, they hardly go out of their rooms as they want to avoid the media glare.

Asked who will foot the hotel bills, Somalingappa of Siruguppa said, “I think the Bellary Reddys will take care of it.” However, Raju Kage differed on this. “Why will the Reddys bear the expenses? We have the money to take care of ourselves,” he said. They denied the allegations that they were lured by cash-rich Reddys.

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