K'taka govt denies nod for LoP to hold meeting on COVID with district officials

·3-min read

Bengaluru, May 20 (PTI) Denying permission to leader of opposition Siddaramaiah's proposed video conference meeting with district officials to obtain information regarding measures taken for COVID-19 management, the B S Yediyurappa- led government in Karnataka has said that there is no such provision.

Siddaramaiah, calling it an attempt to restrict opposition parties, demanded that he be allowed to hold the meeting to gather information, failing which he was ready for any kind of parliamentary or constitutional confrontation to safeguard the public interest.

'Leader of Opposition can obtain administrative information by writing letters to department heads, deputy commissioners and other government officials, but there is no provision for the leader of opposition to hold a meeting of officials,' the Chief Secretary has said in a letter to Siddaramaiah, citing earlier circulars.

The letter addressed to the LoP which has approval from the Chief Minister, was in response to Siddaramaiah's letter to the Chief Secretary a couple of days ago, asking him to direct Deputy Commissioners, Police Superintendents, and Health Officers of various districts to attend the zoom meeting and provide information.

In response to the Chief Secretary's letter, Siddaramaiah on Thursday shot off a missive to the CM urging to allow him hold the virtual meeting.

'If the government was alive and if it had belief in the democratic system it would have shared information immediately after a letter by the leader of opposition, but how to get answers from a government that has lost its senses and spirit,' he said.

Noting that he has written 12 letters to the government after the second wave of COVID began, the Congress Legislature Party leader asked, 'have you responded to even one of them? Isn't it the height of irresponsibility?' Further accusing the government of having 'failed' in managing the COVID crisis by pointing to deaths due to shortage of beds, oxygen, medicines among others, he said, at such a time if we try to gather information on measures taken by the government, it is being denied.

'Your thinking is that if there are no opposition parties you can go on with corruption, laziness, inactiveness and anti people activities, and that is why you are attempting to restrict opposition parties,' he alleged.

When the earlier circulars were issued there were no technological advantages of zoom, google and other applications and physical meetings had to be called, he pointed out.

Siddaramaiah stated that he has no intentions to review the functioning of officials and give them instructions, during the meeting and has enough knowledge of the Constitution.

'Gathering information is my only intention and a format for sharing the information has also been prepared and sent to officials...

as officials during many instances have shared information different from what has been asked, I have intended to gather it face-to-face to avoid confusion, allocating 30 minutes to one hour for each district,' he said.

'So I urge you to immediately instruct the concerned officials to attend the zoom meeting and provide information, failing which I'm ready for any kind of parliamentary or constitutional confrontation to safeguard the public interest.

Without giving opportunity for that, I urge you to allow me to exercise legislative powers and responsibility to protect public interest,' he told Yediyurappa. PTI KSU RS ROH ROH

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