BENGALURU: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition’s austerity measures came apart with the government gifting iPhones and top end briefcases to all Members of Parliament but water resources minister D K Shivakumar rushed to contain the damage as soon as Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar returned the goodies along with a stinker addressed to the Janata Dal (Secular) leader in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Mr Shivakumar told the media that these goodies were given to MPs in his personal capacity. Referring to Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s letter on “costly gifts”, the minister told the media: “It is a personal gift from me to my state MPs. I had gifted such costly gifts even last year to all MPs. Some of them had returned then too. What is wrong in giving gifts to our MPs?,” he retorted while attempting to get even with Mr Chandrasekhar that the billionaire could afford to ‘reject’ such gifts but all MPs were not as as rich as him.
“Many BJP MPs have thanked me after receiving this gift as well as last year too. I don't know why is this become news now,” he added. In his letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that his conscience does not permit him to accept such expensive gifts at a time when pourakarmikas of BBMP have not received their salaries. “When Namma Bengaluru pourakarmikas are in dire straits to such an extent that one of the pourakarmika committed suicide for not getting salary on-time, how can I accept such a costly gift?" he questions acerbically and adds that “on one hand you (Mr Kumaraswamy) claim austerity measures but handing over Rs 1 lakh worth iPhone to MPs looks bit odd to me.”