Bengaluru: Stepping its attack against the BJP governments at the centre and the state over its "failure" to provide relief to flood and drought-affected areas in the state, Congress in Karnataka on Wednesday decided to intensify its agitation in the coming days over the issue. State Congress leaders and MLAs staged a protest in front of Gandhi statue at Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat here, and hit out both central and the state governments. A Congress Legislature Party meeting ahead of the protest passed seven resolutions,in which it was decided to pressurize both governments to provide relief to the flood and drought affected people on a "war footing". The CLP expressed grief over the deaths of people due to floods and decided to organise region wise agitations, demanding immediate relief. Among other resolutions passed were immediate steps to waive loans taken by farmers from nationalized and cooperative banks due to floods and drought, convening a special assembly session in Belagavi at once to discuss the situation and pressurizing the state government to declare affected districts as "drought affected" forthwith. As many as 103 taluks in 22 districts were affected due to the floods last month, in which over 80 people were killed. Around seven lakh people were shifted to safe areas and thousands of houses were damaged. Seven districts have been affected by drought. Reacting to the Congress' protest, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the party was indulging in politics and trying to create confusion as they did not have anything else to target his government. "They are doing politics...This is the same (flood) situation in about six to seven states. Funds will be released to all the states at the earliest (by the centre). A senior minister said Yediyurappa was likely to visit Delhi on Friday to discuss with the centre, the speedy sanction of flood release funds The CLP, that met under the leadership of Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao's,also declared that the party stands by D K Shivakumar, who is in custody of the Enforcement Directorate since his arrest on September 3. It accused BJP of indulging in "hate politics" against Shivakumar, a sitting MLA from Kanakapura assembly seat and a former Minister. Shivakumar was on Tuesday sent to 14-day judicial custody till October 1. Speaking to reporters after the CLP meeting,Siddaramaiah said the party would hold a massive day-long protest in Belagavi on September 24, in which all Congress MLAs, MPs, leaders would participate. "At the meeting, we discussed the floods in various parts of Karnataka. MLAs from all parts of the state expressed dissatisfaction about the relief work being undertaken." Alleging that central government's behavior was as if it has nothing to do with the floods, he said the Prime Minister had not even visited the affected areas. "The Centre has not released even a Rupee till today. The state government also has not put any pressure in getting the relief fund, despite the people giving big support to BJP in the Lok Sabha polls by sending 25 MPs," he said. The Opposition Congress and JD(S) have frequently been hitting out at BJP governments at the centre and the state over 'delay' in the release of funds, despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and inter-ministerial central team visiting the affected areas. Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Tuesday had said the state has reduced its flood damage estimate by Rs 3,290 crore after the union government objected to inclusion of private buildings that were affected. "We are sending (flood damage estimate to centre) after revising it from the earlier Rs 38,451.11 crore to Rs 35,160. 81 crore," he had said, while expressing the hope that the centre would release the funds soon as per norms. Party sources said many Congress MLAs voiced displeasure over the "disparity" in allocation of funds by the state government to their constituencies, compared to those represented by BJP legislators. They alleged that a good amount of funds was being released to constituencies represented by the 17 disqualified Congress-JD(S) MLAs and demanded that the party protest against the "injustice". The absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the coalition government in July and helped BJP come to power. The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court. The absence of senior Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who skipped the CLP meeting,led to speculations about a rift between him and Siddaramaiah. However top party functionaries said he was unable to attend the meeting as he was away in Delhi, meeting the party's central leadership.
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