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When there are no beds, no oxygen…”: Kumaraswamy slams Yediyurappa on full-page govt ads thanking PM for Bengaluru metro

The former Chief Minister remarked that the expenditure for the advertisement was uncalled for, given the state's financial constraints.

Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former CM H D Kumaraswamy Thursday criticised the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government for “unnecessary spending” from its treasuries to run front-page advertisements in national and regional dailies, “thanking” PM Modi and the Centre for the recent funding approval for two new phases of Bengaluru metro.

In a video statement recorded from a private hospital in Bengaluru, where he is admitted due to Covid-19, Kumaraswamy, said he was “pained” on seeing the front pages of major Kannada and English dailies on Thursday. “The state government has tried to express gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Centre by spending crores of rupees. The Union Cabinet announcing funds for a development project to a state government should not be considered as bhiksha (charity),” he said.

The JD(S) floor leader in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly then questioned, “What message is the government trying to convey at such a juncture of time when there are no sufficient beds, medical oxygen, and even medicines for the people (suffering from Covid-19).”

He remarked that the expenditure for the advertisement was uncalled for, given the state’s financial constraints.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka unit of the Indian National Congress, in a series of tweets, questioned the timing of the government’s decision to spend on advertisements. With a collage of front pages of major English and Kannada newspapers, the tweet read, “There is no money to honour people battling corona(virus pandemic) in the state. There is no money to meet the demands of transport workers. There is no money for development work as well but how is there enough money to nurture expensive propaganda material.”

At the same time, Lavanya Ballal, Congress’ national social media coordinator, tweeted, “Where did this money come from? Hospitals are running out of oxygen, people are dying due to lack of medicine, crematoriums are running out of space. But Viswa guru has time & money for ads.”

Karnataka reported 23,558 new infections on Wednesday as the active caseload spiked to 1,76,188. With 13,640 new cases, the number of active cases in Bengaluru Urban alone is at 1.25 lakh.

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