Bowing to public outcry and criticism in the media, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah shot down the proposal of legislature secretariat to gift gold biscuits to MLAs and MLCs in the state as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of Vidhana Soudha. With this, the plan to gift expensive items to the lawmakers during the celebrations has been dropped.
In view of the disgusting flooding of various areas across the state and the drought which has taken over 1,000 farmers' lives, the Chief Minister initially wanted to nix the project altogether, sources in the Finance Department told TNM.
Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad, who is believed to have planned the celebration, denied there was any the proposal to distribute gold biscuits. Speaking about the development, former Karnataka Minister Nagraj Shetty said that the government should focus on the needs of the people first since it was elected for that job only.
"The Chief Minister has examined the proposal. In such times, the CM felt it necessary to utilise funds to build better infrastructure than spend it on a two-day function", the source in the Finance Department added.
A report in the Hindu said: "The secretariat has desisted from divulging details of the proposal, but it is reliably learnt that the Finance Department is yet to clear it".
The proposal allegedly also involved gifting gold biscuits to legislators and silver plate to employees. "We made only estimates of expenditure so far".
BJP state general secretary and Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje has said that BJP legislators will not accept any gift. However, there is no proposal for gifting gold and silver in it. We can use the money for other things, and we should not waste the tax payers money like this.