MYSURU: Alleging that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had avoided visiting Chamarajanagar district as he was afraid of losing his seat, KPCC President DK Shivakumar said he preferred to skip meeting the families of 36 Covid patients who died in the recent oxygen shortage tragedy.
He called on the families during his day-long tour in the border district of Chamarajanagar. "I feel that Yediyurappa should have visited the district and consoled the families. Since no one from the government visited the families, the Congress has decided to go to people in grief," he said.
Yediyurappa, based on an intelligence report that people's outrage could lead to tension and revolt, had skipped visiting Chamarajanagar, he said. This is in keeping with the legendary jinx that whichever chief minister visits the district, loses power. Almost all chief ministers have avoided visiting Chamarajanagar.
Shivakumar claimed that people and public opinion are against the government for its handling of the pandemic. People have lost faith in the government as it has failed to act against any minister or officers for the oxygen tragedy, he said. He termed the 36 deaths as "murders committed by the government".
He thanked the High Court for constituting an inquiry committee which helped the kin of the deceased get Rs 2 lakh, but said that only 24 families got the relief amount, and the rest are still running from pillar to post for death certificates. The Congress will take up their case, he added.
According to him, 3,27,975 people have died due to COVID between January 1 and June 13 in Karnataka, and accused the government of manipulating the figure to 29,000.
Dalit CM chorus gets louder
The Karnataka Congress leadership woes seem to be far from over. While Opposition leader Siddaramaiah's supporters and Shivakumar’s supporters are vocal about their support, there is an equally strong counter-narrative being built from a third group.
Sources said that senior Congressmen former Union minister KH Muniyappa, former national general secretary BK Hariprasad and former deputy CM Dr G Parameshwara held a closed-door meeting to talk about the reality of a Dalit becoming Chief Minister in Karnataka for the first time in 2023, provided the Congress gets the required numbers.