KARNATAKA

‘I dare BJP to initiate defamation cases against Congress leaders’

Former Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao speaking to reporters in Udupi on Monday.

Former Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao speaking to reporters in Udupi on Monday.  

Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday dared the Bharatiya Janata Party to initiate defamation cases against Congress leaders and reiterated his party’s charges that the State government has procured COVID-19 equipment at a higher cost.

Speaking to reporters in Udupi, Mr. Rao said that the government instead of answering questions posed by the Congress on equipment procurement at double and triple the original cost, gets legal notices issued threatening to initiate defamation proceedings. The government has not responded to KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar’s corruption charge even after 25 days, he said and reiterated the demand for a judicial probe into the issue.

Mr. Rao said that neither the Prime Minister nor Ministers at the Centre and in the State have bothered to address issues being faced by the common man in the backdrop of exponential increase in COVID-19 positive cases across the country. District in-charge Ministers are not working as a team in all the districts, including Udupi, he said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had urged the governments to consider COVID-19 seriously much earlier. However, they did not bother. The Congress has, on the other hand, been helping people during the lockdown and it would continue to help through the Arogya Hastha programme.

Mr. Rao said that the party welcomes Ram Mandir construction at Ayodhya; nobody opposes the construction of a grand temple there. However, everyone should understand that the construction of temple would not help do away with the COVID-19 situation. The BJP leaders should stop making baseless statements, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rao said that the party would raise the issue of illegal sand extraction in the district during the legislature session. Officials as well as politicians have colluded in illegal extraction, he said.

On the occasion, he wished speedy recovery for Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his party colleague Ivan D’Souza from COVID-19.

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