Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was on a visit to flood-hit Kodagu district in Karnataka on Friday, however, things did not go as expected. The Union Minister lost her cool and indulged in a war of words with Karnataka Minister Sa Ra Mahesh at a press conference. The Union Minister got upset after Sa Ra Mahesh asked her to wind up the press conference citing lack of time. "Central minister following in-charge minister, unbelievable", she said while publicly blasting the minister.
Nirmala Sitharaman: (To Srividya, Kodagu District Collector) Is there a minute to minute program that you have drafted for me?
Nirmala Sitharaman: (To Srividya, Kodagu District Collector) That was first is it?
Nirmala Sitharaman: (To Sa Ra Mahesh) In the minute to minute program they are first.
Sa Ra Mahesh, District In-charge Minister: (Unclear)
Nirmala Sitharaman: Minute to Minute program I am following Minister, I don't violate that. If officials are important, my family is also important. I follow the Minister In-charge, Center Minister follows the Minister In-charge here, Unbelievable! You have a minute to minute for me to follow. If you did have a difference of opinion then you should have sorted it out even before, not to put me in an embarrassing position, I am doing as per schedule, I am doing as per your schedule.
Sa Ra Mahesh, District In-charge Minister: Excuse me, First let us take the information, then you can take as much time.
Nirmala Sitharaman: But you put a minute to minute schedule, in that minute to minute they are first
Nirmala Sitharaman: No, I won't go now, You told me, I am following you, I am following as per the minute to minute schedule.
Sa Ra Mahesh, District In-charge Minister: Officials have work on the field right?
Srividya: Officials will have to wait for 5 minutes, I can only call those who are not on the field.
Sa Ra Mahesh, District In-charge Minister: You have called the head cell?
Srividya: Head Cell, MH, Forest department PWD...
Sa Ra Mahesh, District In-charge Minister: You can send, I don't have any problem, Madam can decide what she wants.
Nirmala Sitharaman: Madam is not deciding anything. You are deciding this, okay?
Nirmala Sitharaman: Sorry, let this get recorded. How many of them are from field taking care of rehabilitation work? I don't want anyone upsetting rehabilitation work here. Let me be sure, I thought your district arrangement was such that you are calling only people... Yes, when I speak on the mic, I will speak on it, Mic is on right? You can record it.
A day after the entire incident, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara, in a series of tweets, expressed his disapproval saying, "It was disappointing to see you lash out at my colleague."
Meanwhile, as torrential rains have hit the Kodagu district hard leaving a huge trail of destruction and disfiguring the district, Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a financial aid of Rs. 1 crore for the flood-hit districts of Karnataka.