Katti lands in controversy for asking farmer to ‘die’

Umesh Katti  

Karnataka’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti has landed in a controversy, with an audio of him asking a farmer to “die” going viral.

The clip of a telephone conversation has Mr. Katti telling a farmer association member in Gadag that it is “better you die” when he asked the Minister if people “should live or die” with the government reducing the quantum of rice in the Public Distribution system.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has expressed regret about the episode and said that Mr. Katti should not have spoken in this manner as a Minister. He also promised to provide five kg of rice per month instead of three kg for people of Belagavi region.

‘Sack him’

Meanwhile Opposition has demanded his resignation. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar said that Mr. Yediyurappa should sack the Minister from the Cabinet for showing insensitivity to the people who have been facing problems owing to the pandemic and lockdown. A similar demand was made by JDS leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

Mr. Umesh Katti, on his part, said that he was “forced to say some unwanted words” as he was “provoked” by the young caller. He neither tendered an apology, nor expressed his regret over his remarks.

‘I was pushed’

“A person claiming to be a farmers’ leader called me on Wednesday, and asked why the government was reducing the allotment of rice to poor families. I told him that we had reduced the quantity of rice to two kg from five kg, but had provided ragi instead. He asked what was being given in North Karnataka where people do not eat rice, and I said jowar will be given in the coming months. But he kept pestering me. The farmer asked should we die and I said it would be a better option. I had to say it as the caller pushed me to it,’’ Mr. Katti said, defending himself.

“No one should die of starvation in the State. But then no one should speak like that, either,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 1:13:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cong-slams-umesh-katti-for-asking-farmer-to-die/article34430750.ece

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