“No exchequer, no nothing. From the government’s side, only a bag has been given. Nothing else,” DKS told media persons.

iPhones for MPs row DK Shivakumar says he bought gifts with his own money not govts
news Politics Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 19:41

The Karnataka government is under fire after iPhones and leather bags were distributed to MPs at an all party meeting that was held recently. Following the uproar, the state Water Resource and Medical Education Minister DK Shivakumar has claimed that the iPhones were given by him in his personal capacity – and that government money was only spent on bags.

Speaking to media persons, when asked about why the exchequer’s money was being used for these expensive gifts, DKS said, “No exchequer, no nothing. From the government’s side, only a bag has been given. Nothing else.” He then clarified that the iPhones were given by him in his personal capacity.

The Minister’s statement come hours after MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and other BJP MPs rejected the iPhoneX and Moochies bags given to the MPs, and slammed the Karnataka government for wasting money on these gifts.

While Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had earlier said that he did not know about these gifts, DK Shivakumar defended the action.

“Some people may agree with us and some may not. We will accept all suggestions. In some situations, some bags are given to share information. Some people give iPads, some people give kits. Some people said they need phones… As a gesture, if we give a phone, what’s wrong with that? If you want to call a big crime and want to hang me for it, go ahead,” the minister, who belongs to the Congress party, said.

“See I’m telling you, we have a larger issue. I’m not giving a bribe to anyone. We need information, we need to feed information, we need to know what’s happening every day. At least one technology needs to be transferred to them. They have to be given the information,” DKS said.

Further, dismissing questions about pourakarmikas’ salaries and the suicide of a civic worker, he said, “You say people are dying… What is going to happen in Rs 50,000? One bag?”

Justifying the gifts as a mark of ‘prestige’, DKS said, “Can they just dump information? They need to have some prestige, as Parliament members. They are fighting for us… This is just a gesture. Even if I go for a meeting to Delhi, they give bags, phones, watches… What is wrong in that?”

Taking a dig at Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who first tweeted about the issue, DKS said, “He may be extremely rich… But many other MPs have called me and thanked me. I don’t want to tell their names, but even BJP MPs have called me and thanked me. Last time, too, I had given gifts. A few people did not take them – that’s okay. This time too, many people have accepted it, some have not.”

“Rajeev Chandrasekhar is a great man, a great personality. A very rich man… But the poor want it. What can you do? Hasn’t the government given all of us iPads?” he asked.

Earlier in the day, BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar had slammed the state government for distributing iPhones and leather bags to MPs during an all-party meeting.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, the BJP MP said, “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 (sic).”

Following this, Kumaraswamy told media persons in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon, “I don't know anything about the iPhones. It has not come to my notice. I have not asked anyone to give iPhones.”