The Karnataka units of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly being indifferent towards the state when it was battling floods in August. The Opposition leaders took potshots at Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party after the prime minister tweeted about the Bihar floods, which has killed at least 40 people in the last few days.
More than 80 people had died after heavy rains affected 21 of the state’s 30 districts. Lakhs of hectares of agricultural lands and homes were damaged. The state government had estimated that it had suffered over Rs 38,000 crore worth of losses because of damaged crops and inundated public and private properties. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had initially sought relief of Rs 3,000 crore from the Centre. In September, Yediyurappa sought immediate release of Rs 2,000 crore as relief funds.
“Spoke to Bihar CM @NitishKumar Ji regarding the flood situation in parts of the state,” Modi wrote on Twitter on Monday night. “Agencies are working with local administration to assist the affected. Centre stands ready to provide all possible further assistance that may be required.”
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah retweeted it and asked why there was a hatred towards Karnataka. “More than 60 days since parts Karnataka suffered from floods,” the Congress leader wrote. “No shelter, nothing to eat, cattle dying, crops lost – but response from @narendramodi is missing. Why this hatred towards Ktaka? What are our 25 MPs from @BJP4Karnataka doing? #NAMOMissing, pls help us find him.”
Later, while speaking to media personnel in Chitradurga district, he alleged that only BJP supporters were given relief. “Till now no money has been released to rebuild houses, crop and livestock losses,” he said, according to PTI. “Not even sheds were given to those who lost their houses.”
Soon after the criticism began coming in, the finance minister’s office said that an inter-ministerial central team had assessed the damage in the state and was finalising a report. The move was seen as the government entering damage-control mode.
Former Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said the speedy relief to Bihar was commendable but added that Karnataka and other southern states are also part of India. “It is the Centre’s duty to help the states suffering from disasters,” he wrote on Twitter. “While we appreciate the speedy aid extended to Bihar, we cannot but think about the gross apathy shown towards Karnataka by the Centre.”
“On days like these, we cannot but wonder if Bihar’s 40 seats vis-a-vis Karnataka’s paltry 28, is the reason why Nitish Kumar gets a call, but [BS Yediyurappa’s] repeated efforts to talk about Karnataka floods get rejected,” the Congress leader added.
The Karnataka unit of the Congress and other party MLAs also criticised the prime minister for his tweet.
The Janata Dal (Secular) also hit out at the central administration and asked Modi why he couldn’t show similar interest in helping people of Karnataka. “You visit Karnataka multiple times during elections but you do not want to be part of the sorrow of people now,” the party asked on Twitter.