Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday virtually sounded the poll bugle for the next Assembly elections by calling upon people to elect Congress candidates in all the four constituencies of Chamarajanagar district while mobilising participants for the padayatra from Mekedatu.
Addressing a convention, he reminded the gathering that the next Assembly elections were about a year and three months away.
During his tenure as the Chief Minister, Mr. Siddaramaiah said all four seats in Chamarajanagar district – Chamarajanagar, Kollegal, Hanur, and Gundlupet – were bagged by the Congress. In the coming elections too, the Congress should capture all four seats, he said.
The BJP Government in the State has not taken up any development work, he said. Mr. Siddaramaiah emphasised the need for taking up the Mekedatu project on a priority basis and called upon the people of the region to participate in the padayatra. He said neighbouring Tamil Nadu was unnecessarily opposing the project and leading the campaign against it was the BJP’s Tamil Nadu leader Annamalai. BJP’s national general secretary C.T. Ravi, who hailed from Karnataka, but was in charge of the party in Tamil Nadu, was not pushing the project, he alleged.
The project will not only ensure drinking water for the people of Karnataka, but would benefit Tamil Nadu too, he claimed.
Mr. Siddaramaiah also held the BJP Government directly responsible for the death of 36 COVID-19 patients in Chamarajanagar due to oxygen shortage in April 2021. Accusing Health Minister D. Sudhakar and then Minister in charge of Chamarajanagar district Suresh Kumar of trying to mislead the public by claiming that the number of patients who died due to oxygen shortage was only three, Mr. Siddaramaiah said when he visited the district after the tragedy, it came to light that the number of COVID-19 patients who died due to oxygen shortage was 36.
Mr. Siddaramaiah claimed that officials of the district had admitted that they were unable to ensure oxygen to patients, leading to their death.