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'How Do We Answer People?' PM Modi's Tweet on Bihar Floods Leaves Karnataka BJP Divided

The Prime Minister should also take it seriously. Otherwise it sends a wrong message to the people of Karnataka, a BJP MLA said.

Revathi Rajeevan | CNN-News18

Updated:October 2, 2019, 2:03 PM IST
'How Do We Answer People?' PM Modi's Tweet on Bihar Floods Leaves Karnataka BJP Divided
A view of a flooded area due to overflow of Bhadra river following heavy rain, in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. (PTI Photo)

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's concern over flood-ravaged Bihar has left the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka divided as several leaders have questioned the lack of words from Centre when the catastrophe had hit the southern state.

"This above party politics. It is about people's emotions. You should have considered that. Even after all this, Modi doesn't tweet for us, tweets for Bihar. What answer do we give people? I will have to answer as a BJP MLA. On social media too, people are asking. Because there is no election in Karnataka, is that why no tweet is the question some are asking. If this continues, we will lose base in south India. We will only lose it," said BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal on Tuesday.

On September 30, the prime minister had tweeted: "Spoke to Bihar CM @NitishKumar Ji regarding the flood situation in parts of the state. Agencies are working with local administration to assist the affected. Centre stands ready to provide all possible further assistance that may be required."

The tweet had several Kannadigas raising their concerns about "being neglected".

"BJP has 25 MPs from Karnataka. They should speak up. It is their duty to protect people's interests. Country is above the party, then comes our state, then our people, party comes last. We as individuals come after that. The MPs should bring it to the Prime Minister's notice. The Prime Minister should also take it seriously. Otherwise it sends a wrong message to the people of Karnataka," Yatnal said warning that the fate of the politicians were in the hands of the people.

"How will we face people of north Karnataka? They will beat us up when we say we are BJP MPs or MLAs. Don't know what is happening between you (state government) and them (center). It is the people of Karnataka who are suffering," the Vijayapura MLA added.

The floods in August this year battered 103 taluks in 22 districts of Karnataka and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has since then consistently sought donations for "rebuilding Karnataka".

​Yatnal stated that he was miffed over how certain party leaders were responding to the developments in the state. Referring to BJP MP Tejasvi Surya's statement less than a fortnight ago that state was completely capable of handling flood relief, which also irked Chief Minister BS Yedyurappa, Yatnal said, "that MP doesn't know the difficulties. People like us built the party. We traveled around in those villages. Those like (late) Ananthkumar and Yediyurappa built the party. Those who come, have fun giving statements will know? They know the difficulty of villagers? Just because they know some good English and become international leaders.. we work in villages among people. We know people's struggles".

Yatnal's statements hinted at an apparent discord between the BJP state and central leadership.

"There are two power centers. One in Delhi and the other in Bengaluru. People of Karnataka feel this is target-based politics. You cannot finish Karnataka by finishing one person (Yediyurappa). The state is not in the hands of one person. People are not fools. Our fate is in their hands," said Yatnal also pointing out to the different statements coming from various leaders within the party, one contradicting the other recent one that came in context to the chances of disqualified MLAs contesting bypolls on a BJP ticket.

Three leaders from the party — Umesh Katti, Laxman Savadi and BS Yediyurappa — gave three different statements when asked if the 17 of them would be given tickets to contest — no, high command will decide and yes.

"You are in power because of those 17 disqualified MLAs. You must not talk irresponsibly. If they say such things, they are disciplined party workers. If we say such things, we are anti-party. They have some big power behind them," said Yatnal.

"But people can beat these power centers. Great people have been beaten before by the people in the past too. What kind of leaders these are? Have they protested on streets? We have taken lathi charges, held fasts. No party will survive with party leaders holding meetings in air conditioned rooms," added Yatnal taking a dig at the central leaders.

Defending the Center, BJP MP from Mysore Pratap Simha said, "Criticising Modi is like spitting towards the sky. First they talked about MPs. Now they talk about Modi. There were only 17 MPs last time. If the number rose to 25 this time, it means MPs have worked. They say Modi has not tweeted but didn't he send the Home Minister? There is no point in making such criticisms."

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