'Time to Forgive Each Other': Kumaraswamy Tries to Ease Tension Over Sitharaman's Kodagu Tiff
Kumaraswamy took to Facebook to say he regretted the “inconvenience” caused to Sitharaman and it was “unfortunate” that such an incident occurred, even as he praised her for the help she extended for rescue operations.
File photo of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. (PTI)
Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday tried to play down the controversy surrounding defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to flood-hit Kodagu district, saying it was time to “forget the small differences and forgive each other”.
Sitharaman and Karnataka minister Sa Ra Mahesh were locked in an exchange of words over her itinerary during her visit to Kodagu district on August 24 in full view of officials and the media at the district commissioner's office.
Sitharaman was interacting with a group of affected people of Kodagu district when Mahesh, the district in-charge minister, told her that officials were waiting for her for a review meeting and they have to go for rehabilitation work. This had irked the defence minister.
Kumaraswamy took to Facebook to say he regretted the “inconvenience” caused to Sitharaman and it was “unfortunate” that such an incident occurred despite the government and the district administration following the protocol even during the tough situation in the region during her visit.
“I believe this is the time for all of us to forget the small differences and forgive each other and join hands for the rehabilitation of the flood affected people in Kodagu. The grave situation in the district warrants it,” he said.
“Let us not colour such incidents and be distracted from our key focus. I look forward to the continued support of the central government and in particular of the Hon'ble Defence Minister," Kumaraswamy said, praising Sitharaman for the help she extended for rescue operations.
The government, along with the relief agencies of both the state and the central governments besides the volunteers were working day and night for the relief and rehabilitation of the flood-hit citizens with support from the Union government, he said.
Lauding Sitharaman, elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, Kumaraswamy said she extended all possible support to carry out rescue operations and visited the flood-affected areas in Kodagu to understand the situation and to support the rehabilitation work.
In a clarification issued on Saturday, a defence PRO statement had claimed that Mahesh, who is the district in charge minister, had made certain 'personal' remarks against Sitharaman which had also lowered the dignity of Rajya Sabha and showed "utter lack of regard" and knowledge about the Indian Polity. It had said the remarks made against Sitharaman were also in "bad taste," which do not merit a response.
Hitting back at the defence minister, Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said state governments derive their powers from the Constitution, not from the Centre.
Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah too had waded into the row, saying Sitharaman was “more interested in dominating our minister” than in assessing the damage.
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) 25 August 2018
(With PTI inputs)
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