Congress slams Pratap Simha for shirking from debate

The proposed debate between Congress leaders and BJP MP Pratap Simha, who has been accused of ‘appropriating credit’ for the Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway project, turned out to be a flop show here on Sunday.

The district unit of the Congress had fixed Sunday as the date to debate the role of various political parties in the expressway work that is taking shape and also to question Mr. Simha’s role in it. Congress spokesperson M. Lakshman and others reached the Mysuru District Journalists’ Association.

However, Mr. Simha made it clear on Saturday that they cannot unilaterally fix a day without ascertaining if it was mutually convenient and expect him to participate in what he termed as a “futile exercise” by “people out of work”.

The MP reiterated his challenge that he would enter a debate provided they provide evidence for having released funds for the project which is fully being financed by the Centre. Mr. Simha had also posed two questions about the project to the Congress. With the MP not turning up, the Congress held a media conference and also ensured a vacant chair on the podium. Continuing its criticism of the MP, the Congress accused him of trying to corner all credit for the project by creating an impression that it was his brainchild, when such mega projects are an outcome of years of administrative processes involving the government.

Mr. Lakshman also took a dig at Mr. Simha for shirking from an open debate on the issue. He claimed that the Congress had all the evidence, including correspondence pertaining to the project when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister and H.C. Mahadevappa was the Public Works Minister.

Mr. Lakshman said the party will not take things lying down or allow Mr. Simha to “run away” from the debate and will hold a dharna in front of the MP’s office.

The Mysuru MP has been conducing spot visits to apprise himself of the work in progress and holding media conferences giving updates. He also released a video recently and described it as a game changer for Mysuru as its fortunes would change with improved connectivity.

The project is being funded by the NHAI and the Centre is bearing the cost pegged at around ₹8,000 crore. But Mr. Simha has been faulted by his political opponents of taking undue credit for the project though, they aver, he had no meaningful role.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 12:04:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-slams-pratap-simha-for-shirking-from-debate/article36312292.ece

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