Demanding a special package for flood-hit Karnataka, Congress leaders are staging a symbolic protest against the BJP government at Maurya circle in Bengaluru. At the end of the protest, the Congress will submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala with a letter of appeal for flood relief package to the Prime Minister. Alleging that the BJP-led union government has not yet released a single rupee in terms of funds for flood relief, Congress has also demanded that Chief Minister Yediyurappa call for an all-party meeting in the state and lead a delegation to the PM to secure a special package from the central government.
The contingent of Congress leaders meeting the Governor will also urge him to direct the CM to call for an all-party meeting over floods, to get an update from the CM about the measures taken so far and also chalk out the future course of action. The memorandum will also comprise of the reports compiled by all Congress leaders who have toured the flood-affected areas. If the demands are not met even after the petition to the Governor, the Congress plans to stage a massive protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, to highlight the centre and state government’s apathy towards flood victims of Karnataka, the leaders said.
Speaking at the protests, KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao said, "This protest and fast is not for the sake of playing politics. We have been trying very hard to work effectively with the government over issues regarding floods. But the BJP government has failed to provide relief for flood victims. What help has the central government offered so far? Nirmala Sitharaman, Amit Shah came to the state, reviewed the situation but left without any assurance of assistance."
The letter to PM Modi will urge the union government to declare Karnataka floods as a national disaster and grant Rs 5000 crores for relief. The letter will also seek PM’s direction to CM Yediyurappa to consult opposition leaders on relief measures. Former Chief Minister of Karnataka who was also in attendance at the day-long protest said, "Over the last 22 DAYS after the state faced one of the worst floods, the government of India has not released a single penny for relief and relocation. The PM has not even taken an aerial survey to understand the situation. When over a lakh people have been rendered homeless, the PM who tweets often, has not even reached out to the victims."
Reacting to the scathing statements of Congress leader, state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, "In 2009, when the Congress party was in power at the centre, the BJP government in Karnataka had sought Rs 17,000 in flood relief. But instead the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh initially gave a mere Rs 500 crores and then after a month released another Rs 1000 crores. So, today when Congress criticises our government, I don't attach much importance to it." Since the first week of August, heavy rains in parts of north, south and coastal Karnataka caused severe floods. According to reports, 61 people were killed in the floods and close to seven lakh people were displaced.