Karnataka CM resumes #AnswerMadiModi, targets PM on corruption and development

Through the #AnswerMadiModi and #WakeUpPM campaigns, Siddaramaiah is demanding answers on development issues concerning Karnataka.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jan 16, 2024 | 10:15 PMUpdatedJan 16, 2024 | 11:33 PM

Karnataka PM Narendra Modi Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman GST IGST

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 16 January, by resuming the #AsnwerMadiModi (Answer, Modi) and #WakeUpPM campaigns on social media.

The move came on the day the prime minister started his two-day official visit to the southern states.

Through the #AnswerMadiModi and #WakeUpPM campaign, Siddaramaiah is demanding answers from the Union government in general and Modi in particular on development issues concerning Karnataka.

The social media campaign was initially launched on 27 October, 2023, as a push for accountability and equitable resource allocation to the state.

It received an overwhelming response, with several Union ministers, including Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, claiming that it was spreading falsehood and misinformation.

Also read: Siddaramaiah, Stalin look beyond their states, LS polls in mind

‘PM is sleeping tight’

In his series of tweets with caricatures of Modi sleeping with a big smile on his face, the chief minister questioned the prime minister’s silence over corruption charges against Karnataka BJP leaders, the delay in releasing drought-relief funds, and the lack of advancement in the Upper Krishna and Mahadayi irrigation projects.

The first one was: “Karnataka endures its worst drought in 47 years, suffers ₹30,000 crore loss. Instead of addressing Karnataka’s plight, PM is sleeping tight.”

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Cabinet ministers met Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in December and submitted detailed reports about the drought in the state.

The state sought ₹18,177 crore as drought relief grants from the Union government. However, the Union government has yet to provide a single rupee to take up drought relief works the state government has carried out.

Siddaramaiah also said on X: “When the Prime Minister dozes, the nation loses! Narendra Modi is always awake for his personal PR and BJP’s campaign but is always seen sleeping on issues concerning Karnataka. [sic]”

He added that this was a “stark reality in Karnataka”, where central funds were reduced or denied, the aspirations of Kannadigas were neglected, and relief funds from the Union government were “yet to reach the farmers”.

He continued: “His (PM) mantra? Ignore, Neglect, Sleep. Repeat! BJP MPs mantra? Maintain Silence, Fan Modi, Betray Kannadigas, Allow Modi to sleep peacefully. Repeat! [sic]”

Siddaramaiah concluded: “Time to ensure the rightful share of Karnataka.”

Also read: Karnataka incurred crop loss of ₹35,000 crore due to drought

On stalled projects

In his second post, the Karnataka chief minister highlighted the lack of progress in the Upper Krishna and Mahadayi projects.

“Vital projects like Upper Krishna and Mahadayi left high and dry. While Karnataka thirsts for action, PM naps on solution,” he said.

It has been over a decade since the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal delivered its verdict on the Upper Krishna project, but the Union government has yet to notify it.

Though the Union government gave a nod for the detailed project report for Mahadayi in December 2022, which was ahead of the 2023 Karnataka Assembly Polls, it is yet to give environment and forest clearances, which is causing delays in the project.

Similarly, the Union government allocated ₹5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra project in its annual budget for the 2023-24 fiscal.

In reality, the state government has yet to receive a single penny from the Union government for the project, the Congress government has claimed.

Also read: Karnataka minister flaunts luxury private jet travel with CM

‘No action on corruption charges’

As part of the social media campaigns, Siddaramaiah also questioned the inaction of the prime minister over the corruption allegations against Karnataka BJP leaders.

In one post on X, Siddaramaiah said: “Narendra Modi, when asked about the corruption committed by the BJP leaders, sleeps.”

He added: “₹40,000 crore Covid-19 irregularities, ₹45 masks sold for ₹485. In a time of masks and fears — PM’s response disappears. [sic]”

He also said: “Contractor coerced for bribes by BJP Minister forced to commit suicide. A life ends in despair, PM’s response lost in thin air. [sic]”

It may be recalled that the BJP’s Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal has alleged that his party and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s government were involved in irregularities to the tune of ₹40,000 crore in Covid-19 management.

The Siddaramaiah government also constituted an inquiry commission led by Justice (Retd) John Michael D’Cunha in August 2023 to probe the irregularities in Covid-19-related procurements in the previous BJP government.

Meanwhile, BJP worker and contractor Santosh Patil, a resident of Belagavi, ended his life on 12 April, 2022, over alleged harassment and demand for commission by the then rural development and panchayat raj minister KS Eshwarappa.

In the aftermath of the incident, Eshwarappa was compelled to resign from his Cabinet post. However, he was given a clean chit in the case.

This incident led to a huge uproar in the state’s polity, even as the Karnataka State Contractors Association levelled 40-percent-commission allegations against the previous BJP government.

The Siddaramaiah government has set up a new inquiry commission, led by retired Justice HN Nagamohan Das of the Karnataka High Court, to probe the allegations.

Also read: Sangh Parivar outfits are ‘factories of lies’, says Siddaramaiah

BJP counters campaign

Countering Siddaramaiah’s campaign, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Lahar Singh Siroya questioned the fate of the Karnataka chief minister post the Lok Sabha elections.

In his post on X, Lahar Singh said: “Siddaramaiah is getting desperate. As a seasoned politician, instead of teaching Rahul Gandhi (Wayand MP) a few things, he is picking up lessons of failure from him. [sic]”

He added: “I know all Congress surveys in Karnataka say NDA alliance will win 28 of 28 seats. After that will Siddaramaiah be CM? [sic]”