‘It is not the first time that legislators are undertaking such tours’

Even as AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi expressed his displeasure over the proposed fortnight-long foreign tour of Karnataka MLAs, KPCC president G. Parameshwara on Saturday asked what was wrong with the study tour.

At a programme organised by KPCC to celebrate the party’s 129th Foundation Day and 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru here, Dr. Parameshwara questioned: “Is it a big mistake if legislators go on a tour? Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has not introduced this tradition and this is not the first time that legislators are undertaking such tours. The practice has been on for decades.”

“The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had also sent his colleagues on a foreign tour in 2009. In fact, before that the tours were within the country. The practice of foreign study tours was started by the BJP. They do not have any moral right to criticise us now,” he said.

However, later speaking to reporters on the sidelines, Dr. Parameshwara said he had appealed to the Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa and the Chief Minister not to permit the MLAs’ tour at this juncture. “It would be inappropriate to take such a tour at a time when several parts of the State are reeling under drought. However, it is left to the Chief Minister and the Speaker to take a decision on that,” he said.

While two groups of 15 legislators each have already left on separate junkets, a 30-member delegation of legislators is planning to take off to three Latin American countries in January first week on a fortnight’s study tour.

The study tour of the Estimates Committee of the Legislature, comprising MLAs from all parties, includes visits to holiday destinations such as Rio de Janerio, Manaus, Iguassu, Lima, Cusco, and Buenos Aires, besides Dubai, according to the itinerary.

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