When the HD Kumaraswamy government came to power, Kumaraswamy said that he would take some serious austerity measures as the state’s finances were in dire state. Now, it looks like those talks of austerity measures were just flippant and the Karnataka government have thrown them out of the window.
First, it was minister Zameer Ahmed Khan who demanded a brand new Fortuner instead of a ‘small size’ and ‘low height’ Innova in order to get noticed by the people. His demand was immediately fulfilled.
Now, it looks like that the Karnataka State government has gifted iPhones, leather bags and a folder to state Members of Parliament (MPs) along with an invitation for a function at the Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi. The overall cost of these three gifted items is estimated to be over one lakh rupees per individual.
BJP MP Rajiv Chandrasekhar was the first one to reject the gift. Subsequently, other BJP members also rejected the gifts.
U claim Austerity; pourkarmikas r being denied salaries, but pub money used 4 ths kind of expnsve gifts? ?
Im returng thm to u ?? pic.twitter.com/0jZKhnXhuM
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar (@rajeev_mp) July 17, 2018
Rajiv Chandrasekhar has also written a letter to Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy saying that “on one hand you claim austerity measures and we all know Pourakarmikas in Namma Bengaluru are not being paid salaries and are in desperate straits, one Pourakarmika was even forced to commit suicide, farmers are in financial distress and so it is unacceptable that public money would be misspent like this.”
The civic workers of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are on strike over non-payment of their salaries. Earlier this month, a 40-year-old pourakarmika, T Subramani, committed suicide by drinking poison after being denied his salary for six months. After his death, the BBMP disbursed the amount of 27 crores for salaries of civic workers but it was not sufficient, in fact, released amount is not even close to the total amount of 150 crores rupees which the state owes to its civic workers. The released amount paid off their unpaid salaries only partially.
Responding to Chandrasekhar’s tweet, Kumaraswamy told the reporters in Delhi that he is unaware about any such gifts. He said, “I don’t know anything about the iPhones. It has not come to my notice. I have not asked anyone to give iPhones.”
Now, after Kumaraswamy denied knowing anything about the iPhone gift issue, D.K. Shivakumar has claimed that he gifted these iPhones, leather bag and folder from his own personal funds. He said, “I have given gifts to MPs with good intentions. However, some people having jaundiced eye are jealous.” It looks like Shivakumar is aspiring to become the next Santa Claus. If Shivakumar has so much money and wants to do charity then he should donate it to the poor people or distressed civic workers rather than spending on already well paid MPs. Shivakumar said that last year too he had given mobile phones to MPs.
However, according to a The Hindu report, a Congress MP confirmed that he had received the gift from the government.
If this is how the Karnataka government behaves at a time when state treasury is in serious trouble, then their idea of austerity measures might be in need of a serious re-evaluation. It looks like the state government hiked the fuel prices for their extravagance expenses. Farmers are dying and the poor people are suffering but the state government, rather than spending money on their welfare, is spending the money on other non-essential things like gifting iPhones to MPs.