BENGALURU: The three-hour meeting of Bengaluru’s elected representatives to discuss the raging pandemic in the city turned ugly multiple times on Monday with personal attacks, whataboutery and blame-game taking centrestage.
It was only the interventions and appeals for calm by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Revenue Minister R Ashok that kept the meeting going till the end. The CM, who had joined the meeting via a virtual link, had to calm his ministers down every time voices of leaders from both sides were raised to shout each other down.
While the Congress leaders blamed the government for calling the meeting after the pandemic has reached unimaginable levels as a mere eyewash and refusing to answer their questions, the government vehemently defended its action with some ministers even accusing the Congress of politicising a pandemic. “I walked into this meeting with scepticism that it was merely an eyewash. The government’s failure to answer our questions has proven my suspicion.
There were no proposals, no solutions, not even an attempt to hear us out. It was as if the meeting was called just to blame the opposition for the fallout. This meeting was futile since no solutions came about nor were their any answers to our questions of what the government was doing till the situation reached this level,” said an agitated Krishna Byregowda, Congress leader.
Speaking to TNIE, the former minister and Byatarayanapura MLA said that he has no way of helping his constituents if the government refuses to respond.
“My constituents are reaching out to me for beds, medicines, oxygen, etc., but I have no means of helping them because I don’t know who to talk to or who is in charge.
There is no clarity on what is to be done or where to get information from,” he said adding that people are dying before help could be extended to them. Byregowda and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar sparred over the situation with the minister accusing the MLA of politicising the issue. Cabinet colleage V Somanna’s attempt to back the health minister led to more raised voices with ultimately the chief minister having to interfere to bring order.
“Opposition MLAs have appreciated our works, but have also made suggestions which will be considered. They have raised issues and we will solve them. There is no question of blaming the opposition. We are in the same situation as many other countries and states,” said Ashoka. Opposition MLAs insisted that a breakup of the availability of Remdesivir and ventilator beds among others should be made public, but the demand did not elicit any response from the government.