'How does PM Modi travel?': Siddaramaiah after row over flying in private jet amid Karnataka's drought crisis
Following the BJP's condemnation of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's extravagant private jet travel amid a state grappling with drought-like conditions, Siddaramaiah swiftly justified his flight by posing a question: How does PM Modi travel?
The political landscape in Karnataka has heated up as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah faces criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his luxury private jet travel during a severe drought-like situation in the state. The controversy escalated after a video surfaced, showing Siddaramaiah and Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan joyfully posing aboard the aircraft en route to Delhi for seeking funds for drought relief.
BJP's Amit Malviya, accused the Congress government of loot and misgovernance, pointing to the contradiction between the party's pretense of crowdfunding during a meeting and the ministers flaunting pictures on a private jet. Malviya highlighted the irony of the situation, criticizing the government for misusing funds on opulent travel while drought-stricken farmers awaited support.
“On one hand, Congress is pretending to crowdfund and didn’t even serve samosas in I.N.D.I.A Alliance meeting, on the other, Zameer Ahmed Khan, Cabinet Minister for Housing, Waqf, and Minority Affairs in Karnataka Govt, is flaunting his pictures with CM Siddaramaiah in a private jet. They apparently had ‘happy moments’ traveling together to Delhi, to seek funds for drought relief. Irony died a million times. Karnataka is reeling under misgovernance but Congress’s loot must continue,” he said, highlighting the irony.
Karnataka BJP leader CT Ravi condemned the government's misuse of funds, emphasizing the lack of financial resources for drought-affected farmers and development. He criticized the Chief Minister's opulent travel, stating that Karnataka is reeling under misgovernance while the Congress's loot continues.
“Karnataka government does not have funds to pay our farmers affected by drought. Neither does it have funds for development or to fulfill its guarantees. But it has all the funds to fly the chief minister, his political secretary, and housing minister in a luxurious private jet. And that too to seek funds for drought relief from the central government. And CM Siddaramaiah boasts that he is a ‘Samaajavaadi’. But Kannadigas can only see a ‘Majaavaadi’ here!” the BJP leader wrote.
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla accused the Congress of maintaining double standards, pointing out the contradiction between seeking relief funds for drought and extravagant government spending.
“Karnataka is reeling under the drought and the Chief Minister of Karnataka is asking the Centre for the relief fund. Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister (D. K. Shivakumar) of the state tells his own MLAs and people that there is no money left for development because the money has been splurged on the so-called promises made by the Congress party, which they are unable to fulfil” Shehzad Poonawalla said.
In response to the allegations, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah defended his government, challenging BJP MPs to answer whether Prime Minister Modi travels alone on their jet. He questioned the BJP's credibility, asking, "Before questioning me, ask BJP about how PM Narendra Modi travels? He travels alone – what mode of transportation does he use? The same scrutiny should be applied."
The defence came amidst the backdrop of the Congress launching a 'Donate for Desh' crowdfunding campaign on its 138th foundation day, aiming to empower the party for creating equal resource distribution and opportunities in India.
The controversy unfolds against the backdrop of a severe drought in Karnataka, with reports of rainfall shortage impacting the Kharif crop. The state's BJP unit deployed teams to study the drought's impact, but Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dismissed these efforts as futile. The government declared a significant number of taluks as drought-hit, reflecting the severity of the crisis faced by the state's agriculture and populace.