Why A Pro-Modi Campaigner Is Locked In A Battle Of Words With BJP MPs In Karnataka
In the name of ensuring flood-relief funds for the many victims in the state, what is the intention behind these verbal spats on social media between Sulibele and BJP MPs? What purpose is it supposed to serve?
As flood waters recede, discontentment over relief funds is rising in Karnataka. But the demand for funds from the centre and ‘lack of attention’ from the Prime Minister took an ugly turn with a popular pro-Modi campaigner getting vociferously vocal against the members of parliament who he says, “failed to get funds” for the state.
Chakravarthi Sulibele, a pro-Modi campaigner, and a mentor of a popular volunteer group Yuva Brigade, took on the elected representatives about the delay in the release of funds.
Sulibele has also been asking, “Modiji to visit Karnataka” for over a month now, in a not-so-condescending tone, highlighting that the state was being neglected, while praising the PM’s actions otherwise.
But Sulibele’s criticism turned into an ugly Twitter spat when union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers D V Sadanand Gowda asked those who were spreading false information about the issue to avoid doing so.
This response by the MP was in light of the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s tweet that the report of the Inter-ministerial Central Team (IMCT) on assessment of damage was under finalisation with regard to flood relief measures that would be forthcoming from the centre.
But this ‘accusation’ of spreading false information triggered Sulibele, who took on Gowda, the Bengaluru MP, in a cheeky manner, reminding him “that his ministership was a bhikshe (alms) given by the voters”.
The tone of the tweet triggered an equally riled up response from the minister, who, on camera, ended up equating the actions of Sulibele to that of ‘anti-nationals’ who spread ‘false news’.
While adding that such people and talk hurt him a lot, the MP asked such orators not to ‘rile up people with provocative speeches and tweets’.
But the word ‘anti-national’ was all that was needed for Sulibele followers and those that had been expressing discontentment with the centre regarding flood relief, to take to Twitter to lash out at the Bengaluru North MP.
The Twitter war went on with Sulibele accusing Gowda of having blocked him, and Gowda clarifying that this had happened on a day that Twitter was down. The minister also assured the public reiterating in a series of his tweets that it was now up to the people to decipher the intentions of the ones who had made ‘personal attacks’ on him.
The minister was also quoted saying that given that there have been a lot of discrepancies in the past with regard to flood-relief funds and misuse of the same, measures were being taken to ensure the relief reached the right people, and hence the delay.
Sulibele has constantly commented that the MPs in the state should not forget that they had been elected ‘only because of Modi’. Reacting to this, the MP from Mysore, Pratap Simha, joined the bandwagon and voiced his indirect support to the MP in the eye of the storm.
Without pointing at Sulibele directly, Simha dismissed all allegations of step-motherly treatment meted out to the state with regard to flood relief and clarified that systematic procedures were being followed in the assessment of damage and that relief funds would be provided accordingly.
Dishing out details of all that the state government had been doing to help flood victims, Simha said, “ 2,35,000 houses have been affected across the state and relief amount of Rs 10,000 was provided as immediate relief to every house.
“Which means the Yediyurappa government has given Rs 6,200 in addition to the Rs 3,200 that has been provided by the centre. Has any other CM done this? But our Yediyurappa has done it,”he added.
Dismissing claims of the state being neglected on the basis of a tweet that the PM had made after his interaction with the Bihar CM, Simha sternly remarked saying, “Modiji sent the union Home Minister Amit Shah himself who did a recce of the flood-affected areas. But you don’t seem to be able to see this.”
In response to Sulibele’s allegation of the MPs only basking in the glory of Modi’s name, Simha asked, “Who would come listen to the said leader’s speeches, if it was not for Modi’s name in them?”
While certain Kannada news channels have been now reporting that the union Home Minister had ‘taken Gowda to task’ for his online interactions, the ‘virtual war’ seems far from over.
The latest being Sulibele’s response to Simha saying he was “doing it all and willing to accept any abuse on behalf of the people of Karnataka”.
This is not the first time Sulibele has made news for taking on BJP leaders in the state, especially the incumbent MPs. He had previously ‘challenged’ the MPs to take up the development of villages on the lines of the work done by his organisations.
Most of the elected representatives, except the likes of Tejasvi Surya, had responded negatively. Sulibele had also taken on Uttara Kannada MP, Ananth Kumar Hegde, on the issue of the non-availability of an emergency hospital in thee districts.
Unless these spats hint at a larger intention of continuously taking these MPs to task in a bid to reshuffle the system before the next elections, such open verbal wars only widen the rift within the BJP ecosystem in the state, which is already divided on more grounds than one.
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