CM to consult Speaker over MLAs' foreign tour

CM to consult Speaker over MLAs' foreign tour

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday hinted at a rethink over a proposed foreign junket of MLAs from Karnataka at a time when many taluks were facing drought.

“I will have a word with the Speaker. This is not a government programme; it has been planned by the legislature,” the chief minister told Deccan Herald.

The proposed jaunt of the MLAs to South American countries has come under intense criticism amid talk that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had expressed concern over the tour and asked the chief minister to cancel it.

However, Siddaramaiah dismissed such suggestions and asserted that the matter did not figure in his talks with Gandhi.

“This (foreign tour) did not come up during discussions with Rahul Gandhi. He has not given any directions to me in this regard,” he said.

The chief minister, speaking to the media in Bangalore on Thursday, had appeared to defend the foreign tour. “Why are you making it a big issue,” he had asked reporters when they sought his comments on the proposed tour.

The plans for the tour come at a time when 65 taluks in the State are grappling with drought and the government has sought funds from the Centre to tide over the situation. A similar junket of 100 MLAs in separate batches during the then chief minister Jagadish Shettar’s tenure had also raised many an eyebrow as large parts of the State were reeling under drought.

Following the outcry, Shettar had asked a batch of legislators on a visit to Argentina and other countries to call off their trip and fly back home.

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