K'taka CM does somersault on study tour of MLAs

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Karnataka MLAs
Bangalore, Sept 5: A day after he supposedly cancelled the South American 'study tour' of 14 MLAs, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar hinted that the legislators may not return immediately.

He told reporters that it depends on the MLAs whether they want to come back. To a specific query about another 'study tour' later this month, Shettar replied that he had a discussion with the Assembly Speaker on this matter. 

Stating that the second tour cannot be put off as all the formalities had been made, the CM said that all other tours in the future have been put on hold.

Interestingly, this statement was more or less a repetition of what he said yesterday. Shettar had indicated that members of the state Legislative Assembly's Estimates Committee will not be proceeding to Europe later this month. Surprisingly, the CM changed his tune today.

Reports say that a total of 19 MLAs will leave for Denmark on Sept 26. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Egypt, Dubai and Israel also feature on their itinerary.

The legislators are planning to 'study' monuments in the eight aforementioned countries. It is a moot point if their all-expenses paid trip is necessary when Karnataka is facing a huge crisis.

As many as 146 of the state's 176 taluks have been declared as drought-hit. BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa has already pointed out that the MLAs are ex-officio chairpersons of the Task Force created at the taluk-level to monitor the drought relief work and their absence at this crucial time will affect the work.

However, some of the legislators do not seem to share the former CM's concern for the people. Before boarding a flight for Argentina, Hirekerur MLA BC Patil demanded to know, "Have the people stopped eating and drinking because of the drought?

He added, "When the country can spend Rs 25 crore on the security of Ajmal Kasab, then we, as legislators working for the state, should be allowed this trip. There has been sufficient rain in the last few weeks."

Patil's co-traveller Sindhanur MLA Venkanagouda too claimed that farmers in his constituency were busy cultivating crops. "Due to the recent rainfall, our canals are full and plantations are lush. So, I am rid of all guilt," he quipped.

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