Amit Shah says Karnataka government delayed drought report but official letters debunk claim

The Siddaramaiah government had submitted a memorandum regarding drought to the Union government on 25 September, 2023 and followed up on it several times.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 02, 2024 | 8:34 PMUpdatedApr 02, 2024 | 8:34 PM

Amit Shah

While addressing the BJP workers’ convention in Bengaluru on Tuesday, 2 April, Union Minister Amit Shah blamed the Siddaramaiah-led-Karnataka government for a three-month delay in submitting the drought report.

Letters of official communication between State and Central government, however, suggests otherwise.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was quick to bust the “false narrative” that Shah tried to put forth, armed with documents.

The Karnataka government had submitted a memorandum regarding the drought to the Union government on 25 September, 2023. The government also released the evidence regarding the same.

It was Shah’s first visit to the state since the dates of parliament elections were declared. He was addressing the party workers of five parliament constituencies at palace grounds in Bengaluru on Tuesday, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier in the day, Shah held a coordination committee meeting with its alliance partner JD(S) at a private hotel.

Also Read: CM Siddaramaiah highlights ‘injustices to Karnataka’ as Amit Shah campaigns in state

‘Delayed drought report by three months’

For nearly seven months now, Karnataka has been seeking drought relief from the Union government. With no positive response, the Siddaramaiah government has moved the Supreme Court.

Breaking his silence on the drought situation in Karnataka after months, Shah blamed the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state for not releasing the relief funds.

“The chief minister and the deputy CM are busy saving and snatching the chair every day. No one is concerned about the people of Karnataka,” Shah said.

“There is a severe drought in Karnataka. They delayed the sending of the report to the Centre by three months. Now, the Union government’s assistance for drought is lying with the Election Commission,” he claimed.

He further questioned the contribution of the Manmohan Singh-led-UPA government to the development of Karnataka.

It may be noted that the Karnataka government had declared 223 talukas as drought-hit areas and sought ₹17,901 crore as drought relief funds under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) norms.

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‘Shah does not have the moral right to seek votes’

Criticising Shah, Siddaramaiah asserted that Shah had no moral right to seek votes as the Union government did not come to the aid of Karnataka during the severe drought.

“Amit Shah, who is the chairman of the high-level Committee, has not agreed to release drought relief funds. Did they (the Union government) give permission for the Mekedatu and Mahadayi projects?” questioned Siddaramaiah.

Despite the chief minister, deputy chief minister, and the minister for revenue and agriculture personally meeting and writing multiple letters to the concerned Union Ministers, the state government is yet to receive the drought relief funds from the Union government.

In his post on X, Siddaramaiah said: “Dear Home Minister Amit Shah, it seems you have lied again by saying Karnataka has delayed the submission of the drought memorandum.”

The chief minister also highlighted his Cabinet ministers writing multiple letters to the concerned departments seeking drought relief funds from the Centre.

“So, from November 2023 till now, you & your Ministry have been sleeping over the matter, while our 35 lakh farmers, having suffered from crop & income losses, are waiting for input subsidy of over ₹4663 crores,” the chief minister said.

Responding to the claims of Shah, Karnataka Minister for Revenue Krishna Byre Gowda told South First: “The Union minister is speaking blatant lies to cover up his failure and the injustice to Karnataka. His lies are shameful. He is adding insult on top of injury to the people of Karnataka.”

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(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)