iPhones, Moochies bags to Karnataka MPs kicks up row

iPhones, Moochies bags to Karnataka MPs kicks up row

Kumaraswamy denies knowing anything about the iPhones being gifted to MPs.

The gifting of the latest and most expensive iPhoneX to 38 of Karnataka's Members of Parliament by Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar has raised eyebrows and kicked up a row.

All MPs from Karnataka, including Rajya Sabha members, were handed out the gift ahead of a meeting of MPs convened by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to discuss the Cauvery issue in Delhi.

Ironically, the incident took place at a time when Kumaraswamy is speaking of austerity measures in his government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs refused to accept the gift. The party slammed the Karnataka government for “wasting taxpayers’ money”.

iPhoneX. File Photo.

According to BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the state government presented the gifts ahead of the meeting on Cauvery scheduled on July 18.

Kumaraswamy flatly denied knowing anything about the matter. “I don’t know about this issue. It’s not in the knowledge of the (state) government. I don’t know where the news has come from,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

Soon after the controversy made news, Shivakumar claimed in Bengaluru that he gave the gifts in his personal capacity.

“I presented the iPhone(s) in good faith. But the jaundiced eye will see wrong in everything. I handed out phones worth Rs 50,000 so that information is promptly disseminated to the MPs,” he said.

The minister said he had gifted iPhones to MPs in the past.

“Last year also, I had given iPhones to MPs. Some BJP MPs even called and thanked me. Rajeev Chandrasekhar is wealthy. So he returned the phone. But not everybody is as wealthy as him,” Shivakumar said.

Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar. DH File Photo.

Moochies bags. Source: Moochies on Facebook (Picture for representation only).

Interestingly, as per Shivakumar’s own admission, while the iPhone was gifted by him, Moochies leather bags containing the phone, was sponsored by the government. The bag also contained a set of documents pertaining to the Cauvery dispute, and an invitation for the meeting. The meeting was convened to apprise the MPs of the Cauvery issue and other pending projects of the state so that they could raise them in the monsoon session of Parliament scheduled to commence from July 19.

Chandrasekhar, who was the first to react to the issue, shot off a letter to Kumaraswamy questioning the government’s move. He said the gifts came at a time when the government had not paid salaries to Bengaluru pourakarmikas. Charging that a pourakarmika had committed suicide because of government apathy, Chandrasekhar also raised concerns over the plight of debt-ridden farmers in the state. Other BJP MPs like Ananth Kumar, Prahlad Joshi and P C Mohan, too, said they won’t accept the gift. “There’s no need of giving any gifts to MPs. I have not opened the bag yet. If I find an iPhone in the kit, I will return it,” Joshi said.

Mohan said the state government was trying to hush up the issue, with Shivakumar claiming the phones were not sponsored by the government. “There was no need for such expensive gifts at a time when the state’s financial health is deteriorating. I already own an iPhone, so does my personal assistant.Kumaraswamy has put everybody in an embarrassing situation,” he said.

Congress MP from Tumakuru Muddahanume Gowda, however, said there was nothing wrong in giving iPhones to MPs as they can utilise it for public works.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)