Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was caught on video losing her cool and lashing out at District Minister-In-Charge Sa Ra Mahesh at a press conference on Friday. The minister was in Kodagu to visit the areas affected by the rains and the floods.
The union minister was reportedly displeased after they failed to reach a consensus on whether they should hold a press conference or hold a meeting with officials who were present in the room.
The Defence Minister repeatedly reiterated that she was following the schedule handed out by the district authorities even as Mahesh tried to point out that the officials who wanted to meet her were present in the room.
"I am following the minute-to-minute programme, minister. I don't violate that. If officials are important, my parivar is also important. Central minister follows the minister in-charge here, unbelievable. You have a list of minute-to-minute programme for me to follow. If you had a difference of opinion you should have sorted it out beforehand," she was heard saying, lashing out at the district minister in-charge and Kodagu DC Sreevidya.
The Defence Minister then instructed officials in the room involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts to leave and proceeded with the press conference.
Her actions have sparked reactions from several state leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who leapt to his colleague's defence, stating that it was ‘disappointing’ to see her lash out at his colleague.
State Governments derive their powers from our Constitution not from the Centre. The Constitution has distributed powers among the Centre and States to ensure an equitable partnership between both. We are not inferior to the Centre. We are partners @nsitharaman— Dr. G Parameshwara (@DrParameshwara) August 25, 2018
I condemn the stepmotherly treatment by @PMOIndia in releasing relief funds. We expected PM @narendramodi to assess the loss instead it was delegated to @DefenceMinIndia, who was more interested in dominating our state minister. This reflects @BJP4India 's apathy towards Ktaka.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 25, 2018
During her visit to flood-hit Kodagu, the Defence Minister assured the people of the Indian Army's help in rebuilding the devastated region's roads.
The Minister, who is an MP from Karnataka, said the Centre's financial aid to the district is yet to be decided and will be confirmed after an assessment of the losses suffered.
She, however, offered Rs 1 crore from the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for the district.
More than 1,100 houses were damaged by floods and landslides in the region while over 5,000 people in the district were relocated to relief camps.