Karnataka Minister Wants Lavish Fortuner, Not "Low-Level" Innova

BZ Zameer Ahmad Khan, who crossed over to the Congress from the Janata Dal Secular headed by the Chief Minister, says he is more comfortable in a taller vehicle than the low slung Innova.

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Karnataka Minister Wants Lavish Fortuner, Not 'Low-Level' Innova

A Congress lawmaker defended BZ Zameer Ahmad Khan, saying there was nothing wrong in the request


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. BZ Zameer Ahmad Khan is three-time lawmaker from Bengaluru's Chamrajpet
  2. The minister has demanded Fortuner instead of Innova as his official car
  3. Karnataka government's fleet of 37 vehicles has only two Fortuners
Karnataka minister BZ Zameer Ahmad Khan ignited a controversy today, demanding a pricey Fortuner instead of the standard-issue Innova as his official car. The state's fleet if 37 vehicles has only two Fortuners - each costing almost the double of an Innova -- which were reserved for the use of former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. But his demand had drawn criticism from the opposition BJP, which has accused the minister of indulging in expensive tastes despite Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's austerity drive.

Mr Khan, who crossed over to the Congress from the Janata Dal Secular headed by the Chief Minister, says he is more comfortable in a taller vehicle than the low slung Innova.

"I have been travelling in big cars since my childhood. I have been sanctioned an Innova. I don't find it comfortable because I have always travelled in vehicles that are big (in height)....Innova is low level," he was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.

Asked why he was not following the Chief Minister's example and using his personal vehicle, the three-time lawmaker from central Bengaluru's Chamrajpet said he wanted people to know that he was a minister. 

"Chief Minister Kumaraswamy -- he needs no introduction...He is so popular. If I go by a normal car, will people recognise me? If I go by a minister's (government) car, they will say look the minister is going," he said.

The 48-year-old minister for food and civil supplies, who is part owner in a transport company, has faced sharp criticism.  "He owns over 100 luxury buses. Kumaraswamy wants to implement austerity measures. The minister should reduce his luxury," state BJP spokesman S Prakash told a television channel.

Congress lawmaker Syed Naseer Hussain has defended Mr Khan, arguing there was nothing wrong in a minister requesting for a particular vehicle. "What's wrong in putting in a request? If a minister is uncomfortable in a car, why can't he ask for another?" Mr Hussain was quoted as saying by PTI.

The Chief Minister, who was furious with Mr Khan for quitting the party and patched up with him recently, is yet to comment on the matter. The former JD(S) general secretary and minister had joined Congress in March, weeks ahead of the assembly election.

Mr Kumaraswamy recently said the state's fleet of vehicles for ministers will remain capped at 37. He is using his personal Range Rover for official purposes.


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