There is no dearth of alleged corruption and other problems in Karnataka, but the BJP and Congress are intent on fighting over remarks made about beef-eating, in a state where cow slaughter is regulated, but not prohibited. At this rate, the Opposition BJP is going to miss out on other issues that it can confront the ruling party with.
On Monday, the remarks over beef-eating took a new turn with the BJP Shivamogga district secretary SN Channabasappa threatening to behead Chief Minister Siddaramaiah if he ate beef in the district. Reacting to the development on Tuesday, Siddaramaiah told news channels that he had asked the police to look into the matter and that if true, action would be taken.
Channabasappa made the remark at a rally organized by the BJP to protest against Siddaramaiah’s statement that he would eat beef if he wished and that the BJP did not have the right to question his decision.
However, that remark now appears to have preoccupied the political establishment in the state, with both the BJP and Congress declaring to protest against the other’s views.
In the meanwhile, here are some issues in the state that concern the people and to which the BJP, as a responsible opposition party, ought to demand accountability from the ruling party.
Kalburgi’s murderers still at large
Two months after writer and scholar MM Kalburgi’s murder, the Karnataka police have still not been able to apprehend the murderers, despite interrogating numerous people.
Last week, it had seemed that one of the suspects in the murder had himself been murdered. On October 10, the body of a man who resembled one of the suspects in the sketch released by the Hubballi-Dharwad police had been found in a forest in Khanapur taluk. The body had two bullets to the chest. However, the police have now ascertained the identity of the man and say that the two murders have no connection.
Congress ministers on renovation spree
Congress ministers appear to have spent exorbitant amounts of money to renovate their official residences. RTI applications show that minister for Public Works HC Mahadevappa has spent over Rs 41 lakh on maintenance of his official residence in KK -1 South for the year 2013-14.
The PWD minister has spent the money on a false ceiling at a time when more than half of the state’s population has been living with temporary or no roofs over their heads. Renovations expenses also included a gymnasium, painting, polishing wooden articles, and other allied works. Other ministers including Siddaramaiah himself, too have spent exorbitant amounts.
'Greed' category sites
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has once again opened the door to corruption by amending the law in partial compliance with the Karnataka High Court’s directives on G Category sites. The amendments would allow the chief minister to use discretionary powers to sanction housing sites in Bengaluru.
The allocation of G category sites has tainted every chief minister for some years starting with N Dharam Singh up to BS Yeddyurappa during whose tenure, the High Court prohibited further allotment.
Around 700 farmers have committed suicide in the state till September. These include every district in the state, including Bengaluru Urban, which largely comprises the state capital. While farmers groups continue to protest and attempt to conduct surveys of each reported death in groups where they have a presence, the state government’s own measures are simply invisible. Little appears to have been done to find out why suicides have been reported from all the districts of the state, although primarily concentrated in four districts – Mandya, Haveri, Tumakuru and Mysuru.
Since then, the government’s most visible and most high profile engagement with farmers has been to announce that it would cut down on Dasara expenses and hold a farmer-themed Dasara instead.
Bengaluru’s garbage woes
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s expenses on solid waste management are piling up, just like the garbage is. While the garbage is shifted from one landfill to another as villagers protest, the money spent on it too has shown little result. Added to this is the money spent on a number of trips successive councillors have undertaken, from neighbouring states to far off countries to try and solve the problem.
Now, the newly appointed minister for Bengaluru, KJ George has announced another foreign junket, this time to Europe.