The war for credit for the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway has intensified in the runup to its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 12 with the Congress reiterating its claim that the project was initiated during its tenure.
The tug-of-war over the expressway comes at a time when the State is awaiting announcement of the date for the Assembly elections in Karnataka.
On March 8, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson M. Lakshman said in Mysuru that they will release documents to support their claims when Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah inspects the expressway on March 9.
‘’We will provide necessary records and documents paving the way for handing over the State highway to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which took place when Siddarmaaiah was the Chief Minister, H.C. Mahadevappa was the PWD Minister, and Oscar Fernandes was the Union Minister for Surface Transport in the then UPA government,” said Mr. Lakshman.
He rebuked Mysuru MP Pratap Simha for claiming that neither Mr. Siddaramaiah nor Mr. Mahadevappa had contributed even 10 paisa to the nearly ₹10,000 crore project.
‘’The MP offered to resign in case any documentary evidence was furnished to prove the contribution of Congress leaders towards development of the expressway, and we will definitely furnish it. Mr. Simha has to keep his word and resign, or apologise for his statement,” Mr. Lakshman said.
‘’Neither Mr. Siddaramaiah nor Mr. Mahadevappa need to publicise their contribution, but what is reprehensible is the blatant manner in which the BJP is claiming full credit for a project that is essentially a Congress’ baby,” Mr. Lakshman added.
Mr. Siddaramaiah had recently claimed that the decision to hand over the then State Highway to NHAI was taken when he was the CM and Mr. Mahadevappa was the PWD Minister.
Claiming that the expressway passes only for a couple of kilometres through Mysuru parliamentary constituency and cuts across Mandya and Bengaluru Rural, he accused Mr. Simha of ‘appropriating credit’ for a project that barely skirts his constituency.