Ministers in the Karnataka government have denounced the statement made by Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti on Sunday where he had said that people with a two-wheeler, television, refrigerator, or over five acres of land will have to surrender their Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards. After facing flak from his own party, Katti, while retracting his statement on Monday, said that the norms were not set by him and existed before he took the charge of the ministry.
After the Congress questioned the BJP Ministerâ€™s statement, many Karnataka Ministers, including Education Minister S Suresh Kumar and Co-operation Minister ST Somashekar asserted that Katti's statement on BPL ration cards was uncalled for.
"Owning a fridge, TV and two-wheeler cannot be a yardstick to denounce BPL rations cards. This is inhuman, even the poorest man owns all of these things," Kumar told reporters.
Congress leaders in Karnataka had lashed out at the BJP over the ministerâ€™s comment. Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said, â€śDuring my tenure, the poor benefitted the most. The ruling BJP in the state has reduced the number of grains a person receives and is devising newer ways to keep poor people even poorer.â€ť He also added that Katti can make such inhuman laws "when he forms his own state." Congress MLA and former minister UT Khader said the issue had come up before him when he was the Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Siddaramaiah government and he had decided not to relax the norms as many poor people would be affected.
Congress workers also staged protests in front of various ration shops in Bengaluru and also in Dharwad, Mysuru and Tumakuru.
During an interaction with the press in Belagavi, Minister Umesh Katti had said, "There are parameters for possessing a BPL card. They should not have more than five acres of land, motorcycle, TV or fridge. Those who don't qualify on these parameters should return the cards or else we will do it," adding that door-to-door surveys will also be carried out.
Watch what the minister had said.