First 100 Days Were Like An "Agni Pareeksha", Admits Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

Yediyurappa took over the southern state at a time when it was being ravaged by floods that killed over 80 people.

First 100 Days Were Like An 'Agni Pareeksha', Admits Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa

BS Yediyurappa was not allowed to form the state cabinet for weeks after taking over.

Bengaluru:

The BJP government in Karnataka has just completed 100 days in power, and the journey has been turbulent so far.

BS Yediyurappa took over as the Chief Minister in July, after the collapse of the Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) coalition government. It wasn't exactly an auspicious start, given how it came at a time when the state was facing heavy floods that left over 80 dead. For many days, he toured flood-hit areas as what the media termed as a "one-man cabinet".

Since then, the Chief Minister has been recorded talking about how the BJP owes a debt of gratitude to the disqualified Congress and JDS MLAs who brought about the coalition government's collapse by withdrawing their support. He was also heard implying that party president Amit Shah knew what the MLAs were planning, and may have even supervised it.

This has led to renewed accusations by coalition parties that the BJP deliberately lured the MLAs into its fold, causing the government's collapse as part of "Operation Lotus". The Congress and the JDS even brought the recording to the attention of the Supreme Court, which is hearing the MLAs' appeal against their disqualification.

The upcoming bypolls for the seats left vacant by the disqualified MLAs will put more pressure on BS Yediyurappa and the BJP. If their disqualification is reversed by the Supreme Court, they may expect much-desired cabinet portfolios should they win on tickets provided to them.

This has not gone down well with BJP members, who are reportedly not too welcoming of the rebels. In fact, this mood was what made BS Yediyurappa ask party colleagues to show more support to the disqualified MLAs because it was their "sacrifice" that brought the party to power.

Floods hit Karnataka again in October, causing more loss of life and property amid renewed opposition complaints of "inadequate" help from the centre. And even the Chief Minister admitted that it made the going tough.

"These 100 days have been like an Agni Pareeksha (trial by fire) for me. Never before has the state witnessed floods on this scale in the last 120 years," he said at an event held to release a booklet listing the government's achievements on Tuesday.

"We came to power with many new concepts for development, and to provide corruption-free governance. An additional Rs 4,000 is being extended to beneficiaries of the Prime Minister's Kisan Sanman Yojana. The first instalment of Rs 2,000 has already been transferred to 25 lakh farmers. We have waived loans of fishermen and weavers to reduce the burden borne by them," he told mediapersons.

He said that the government's priorities changed as the floods persisted. "During the floods, I toured the districts along with my cabinet colleagues and took stock of the situation. We instructed officers to speed up relief measures. On humanitarian grounds, our government offered additional compensation to flood victims," BS Yediyurappa added.

Claiming that the financial situation of the state is "good", the Chief Minister said: "Irrigation has been given priority. The Ministry of Environment has given clearance to the Kalasa Banduri drinking water project. The government has taken decisions to reduce the burden of school bags and provide good nutrition through midday meals."

BS Yediyurappa listed out the varied welfare measures adopted by his government, from increasing the honorarium for ASHA workers to extending a proposal for establishing new medical colleges. "Action has been taken to construct a cancer centre in Tumakuru district. We have set a target of constructing Rs 1.5 lakh houses for the benefit of the poor. To prevent the migration of people from flood-affected villages, we have sent a proposal to the centre to provide additional 50 man days to local daily wagers under the rural employment generation scheme," he said.

The Karnataka Congress dismissed his claims with a tweet. "100 days of @BSYBJP govt. No flood relief. Incapable of getting aid from centre. No new projects announced. Bengaluru infrastructure in doldrums. Govt marred by internal bickering. Drought areas ignored. Big achievement is admission by BSY that @AmitShah toppled coalition govt," it read.

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