People more important than Hampi festival: Karnataka Minister

Bengaluru: Karnataka’s Irrigation and Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar on Tuesday said the people facing hardships due to drought are more important for the state government than celebrating Hampi festival.

Commenting on the government decision not to celebrate Hampi festival a large scale, Shivakumar told ANI, “Almost the entire state is facing drought. We want the drought issue to be settled immediately to ensure drinking water for the people. We don’t want Hampi festival at a big scale as our priority is the people, and not only the festival.”

He also criticised the arrest of top Congress leader, Revanth Reddy, in Telangana for threatening to stop a public meeting of state Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in the constituency.

“It is simply the misuse of power and fear of losing the state elections, which have led to Reddy’s arrest. It is highly condemnable the police arrested Reddy at 3 am on Tuesday,” he said. “Such intimidation goes against the spirit of free and fair elections,” he added.

Talking about Hampi festival, senior Congress leader Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI, “It is not right to make a controversy by saying that we are celebrating Tipu Sultan and not Hampi festival. The Congress is a secular government and we work for all sections of the society.”

Claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party politicises major religious issues, Kharge said, “First the Central government offered us financial help to deal with drought and later, they put the assistance on hold. The Centre is now adding political colour to an issue of public concern arising out of drought the state is faced with.”

Kharge also slammed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi for making controversial statements. “Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi wants to establish the fact that his name is synonymous controversial statements. First, he should improve the condition of his state. Under his leadership, the BJP has always got defeated in the elections.”

“The BJP is now putting pressure on our leaders by spreading rumour like our MLAs are moving to the saffron party,” he added. Taking a note of Bulandshahr violence, Kharge said, “Before levelling allegations against the Congress, Yogi should first discharge his responsibility towards the people of Uttar Pradesh and provide them with justice.”