BENGALURU: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday returned an iPhoneX by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and questioned the reason for using public money for such 'expensive gifts'. Returning the gift, the BJP MP wrote: "Dear @CMofKarnataka @hd_kumaraswamy - Thnk u 4 convng all MPs tmrw to discuss Cauvery issue. But why is ur govt sendng expnsve phones to MPs? U claim Austerity; pourkarmikas r being denied salaries, but pub money used 4 ths kind of expnsve gifts? Im returng thm to u (sic)."
U claim Austerity; pourkarmikas r being denied salaries, but pub money used 4 ths kind of expnsve gifts? _
Im returng thm to u __ pic.twitter.com/0jZKhnXhuM
- Rajeev Chandrasekhar (@rajeev_mp) July 17, 2018
There has been a widespread protest over the non-payment of dues of Bengaluru's pourakarmikas, the civic workers in the city for over six months. Earlier this month, a 40-year-old pourakarmika committed suicide after being denied his salary for six months. Hundreds of pourakarmikas staged a protest outside the KC General Hospital in the city where his body was taken.
After his death, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) released Rs 27 crore for their salaries but it only paid off their unpaid salaries partially. The state owes its civic workers close to Rs 150 crore.
Chandrasekhar has also written a letter to the Chief Minister saying that "on one hand you claim austerity measures and we all know Pourakarmikas in Namma Bengaluru are not being paid Salaries and are in desperate straits, one Pourakarmika was even forced to commit suicide, farmers are in financial distress and so it is unacceptable that public money would be misspent like this."
Reacting to Rajeev Chandrasekhar's tweet, Kumaraswamy reportedly said that he was not aware of any such gifts. "I don't know about this issue. It is not in the knowledge of the (state) government. I don't know where the news has come from. I don't have information about that," he was quoted as saying after a meeting on Tuesday.
The Karnataka government has reportedly given an iPhone, a leather bag and a folder along with an invitation for state MPs to attend the meeting on Cauvery issue scheduled on July 18.
The Karnataka government had decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Authority and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee. "Karnataka will always abide by constitutional decisions. We have always respected the Supreme Court and its directions. There are two-three issues where schemes were formed unscientifically, for which we will fight," Kumaraswamy had said.