Bengaluru: Hitting back at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Union Minister on Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday said the state itself had not proposed Bengaluru for "Smart Cities Mission" and the Centre was committed to make it a "great city" even if the ruling Congress did not want it to be so.
"It is a lie and contrary to facts," Urban Development Minister Naidu said in a sharp rejoinder to Siddaramaiah's charge in the run-up to the August 22 city civic body polls that the central ministers from Karnataka, including Naidu, did not show interest to ensure that Bengaluru was in the "Smart Cities" list.
Naidu said though Karnataka government had not proposed Bengaluru to the Centre in the shortlisted cities from the state, he did not make it an issue to avoid a controversy but Siddaramaiah had now made a "baseless" allegation for short term gains and "dragged my name into it."
He said the High Powered Committee of Karnataka had in its meeting held on July 28 shortlisted Mangaluru, Belagavi, Shivamogga, Hubbaalli-Dharwad, Tumakuru and Davangere and sent the proposal to the Central Urban Development Ministry.
Naidu, who released a copy of the letter written by the Urban Development Department of Karnataka on the shortlisted cities, said Bengaluru was not proposed by it.
He said in true spirit of federalism, the Centre had allowed the states to identify and recommend the names for "Smart Cities Mission".
"Siddaramaiah is now saying that he will make Bengaluru a Smart City without Central help," Naidu said, and added that, "the Modi governent will continue to support Bengaluru to make it a great city even if the Congress government does not want to it to so."
Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, said Siddaramaiah blaming union ministers and city BJP MPs for non-inclusion of Bengaluru was a "classic example of political oneupmansip" and this instance was sufficient for the people to decide "who is speaking the truth and who is not."