Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy’s swearin-in ceremony in May this year, wasn’t exactly a low-key affair. Right from inviting the heads of all opposition parties, to making a grand statement about the unity of opposition, the event was a big gala.
However, the grand event wasn’t just about a show of strength, but also a show of finance – funded by the taxpayer. A right to information (RTI) query filed by an activist revealed that the state government spent a staggering Rs 42 lakh on the hospitality of its guests, reports Bangalore Mirror. The guests were accommodated at the Taj West End, one of the city’s high-end hotels, operated by the Tata Group’s India Hotels Company.
While details on West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s – who allegedly threw a fit for being made to walk a short distance – stay were not disclosed, the figures stacked up quite high for the others. Data also showed that State Hospitality Organisation (SHO) did not spend anything for guests at the swearing-in ceremonies of former chief ministers Siddaramaiah in 2013 and B S Yeddyurappa a week earlier in May 2018.
The largest tab of Rs 8.72 lakh was run up by Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu. This was followed by aam aadmi Arvind Kejriwal, CM of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi at Rs 1.85 lakh. Former Janata Dal (United) - JD(U) strongman and Loktantrik Janata Dal founder Sharad yadav came in third with a bill for Rs 1.67 lakh.
Among others, former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, former Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan spent Rs 1 lakh each while Mayawati spent Rs 1.43 lakh.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar and Communist Party of India (Marxist) -CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury ran a tab of Rs 64,000 each. Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi spent Rs 38,000 each.
The Karnataka government meanwhile has said that it is low on funds to implement Kumaraswamy’s promised farm loan waiver, going so far as to asking the Centre to release funds. It has also not paid pourakarmikas, many of whom are striking in the state capital of Bengaluru over non-payment of dues for over six months, thus resulting in the Garden City turning into a Garbage City.