Bengaluru: Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday tore into the BJP governments both at the Centre and in Karnataka over delay in flood relief and mocked at Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, calling him an "unwanted child" of the party leadership.
Speaking in the state assembly on the first day of its three-day session, the newly appointed Leader of the Opposition accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of neglecting Karnataka.
"Having 56 inch chest is good thing, but there should be motherly heart inside it. It is not therein him, and that's the painful thing. Pailwans and body builders will also have 56 inch chest," he said in a sharp attack.
It was over 65 days since Karnataka was affected by "unprecedented" rains and floods and not even a rupee had been paid to the sugarcane farmers, among the most affected, he charged.
Siddaramaiah criticised the Prime Minister for not visiting the flood-hit areas in the state, saying: "We are not opposed to his foreign tours, but what should be the priority? I don’t know why such a neglect or contempt towards Karnataka."
Amid criticism over delay in sanctioning aid, the Centre had last week released an interim relief of Rs 1,200 crore to the state which has sent a flood damage estimate of over Rs 30,000 crore. Yediyurappa had rejected the charges of neglect.
More than 80 people were killed and around seven lakh were shifted to relief camps as the floods affected 103 taluks in 22 districts of the state in August.
Siddaramaiah claimed the BJP central leadership was trying to 'control' Yediyurappa by not giving him 'powers' to function 'independently.
"...he is not being allowed by his party high command to function independently... Yediyurappa is like unwanted child to BJP leadership, this is what I feel looking at the current situation," he claimed.
Reiterating his earlier demand that the assembly session should have been convened in northern Belagavi, as is the practice, Siddaramaiah said it would have instilled confidence among the people of the district, ravaged by the rains.
Fearing backlash from people, over their failure in flood relief management, government seems to have shifted the session to Bengaluru, he charged and demanded extension of the session at least by a week.
Earlier, the brief session of the legislature commenced at the Vidhana Soudha here with private television channels being barred from covering the proceedings for the first time with Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri deciding to allow only the Doordarshan whose feed can be taken by others, a move condemned by the opposition parties.
The Speaker moved obituary references for leaders and dignitaries, including Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Ram Jetmalani, who died during the inter-session period, and then called for papers to be tabled.
Siddaramaiah then demanded his adjournment motion notice on the post-flood situation be taken up on priority. JD(S) too made similar demand.
The Speaker said he will allow the issue to be raised after reports and papers were laid but as the Congress insisted on immediate discussion, heated exchanges followed between the opposition and the treasury benches.
Yediyurappa and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy intervened and said the opposition can raise the issue soon after the reports and papers were laid which was opposed by Krishna Byre Gowda and Ramesh Kumar of Congress.
As the Speaker asked the assembly secretary to lay the reports and papers, the opposition protested with JD(S) members trooping into the Well of the House.
"This is infringement of our rights. You cannot suppress democracy and our voice," Siddaramaiah told the Speaker even as some of his party colleagues alleged the Chair was behaving like the rubber stamp of the government".
Amid chaos, the Chief Minister tabled the Motion for demands for grants for expenditure during 2019-20 and the supplementary estimates second instalment.