Leaders of the Opposition Congress and the ruling BJP continued to spar on Twitter on Friday over the expenditure incurred on management of COVID-19 and purchase of equipment.
While Ministers continued to deny misuse of funds in the purchase of equipment, Congress leaders asked why the government was “afraid of a probe” if no corruption had taken place.
In a series of tweets, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said, “We are not interested in doing politics during COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why we have not taken up many other pressing issues. But how can we be quiet when hundreds of people are succumbing due #Covid19 mismanagement?”
Referring to the Ministers’ statement on Thursday that ventilators had been purchased at ₹21 lakh per unit in January 2019 by the Congress-JD (S) coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy, Mr. Siddaramaiah said, “I was not in the government then. If they have documents, let them investigate about that also. Let the truth be revealed.”
He said in another tweet, “It is true that the Medical Education Department has sent a proposal worth ₹815 crore. It is also true that there is a note on the proposal which says that these are not recommended by experts. What is the significance of this note?”
In another tweet, the former Chief Minister said that there were corrupt practices in the distribution of food packets and sought details for ₹1,000 crore spent.
Medical Education Minister K. Sudharkar tweeted: “I am shouldering the responsibility of the Medical Education Department for the last five months. When baseless allegations are levelled, all true facts are placed before the people.”
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s son B.Y. Vijayendra too tweeted and criticised the Congress for levelling “baseless charges.”
Deputy Chief Minister Govid M. Karjol, who also holds the PWD and Social Welfare portfolios, provided details of the amount spent on masks, sanitizer, and food kits and said there was “no scam” in handling of the pandemic or purchase of equipment.
He said 500 ml bottles of each sanitizer were purchased at ₹250 and not at ₹600 as alleged by Mr. Siddaramaiah. Masks were purchased at ₹17.24, he said.