Hassan : Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday wondered whether being a prime minister means becoming a dictator, hours after his predecessor B S Yediyurappa accused him of making “irresponsible” comments about the Narendra Modi government.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru earlier in the day, Yediyurappa hit out at Siddaramaiah and his deputy D K Shivakumar for their comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.
“If they have the arrogance to criticise the prime minister who is respected globally, people will teach them a lesson,” the former chief minister said.
Hitting back, Siddaramaiah said, “Does being a prime minister mean he is the dictator of the country? Should he (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) speak against me?
“What is there to talk about Karnataka during the election campaigning in Madhya Pradesh? There is an election happening in Madhya Pradesh, why is he talking about Karnataka?” Siddaramaiah posed.
When asked whether Siddaramaiah thought that PM Modi was scared of him, the Karnataka chief minister said, “It is possible. I also think so.”
To the allegation that he often blamed the BJP-led Union government for everything, including the drought, the chief minister said he was only asking for money from the Centre to deal with the severe drought in the state.
“Shouldn’t we ask for money? Is asking for money equivalent to picking up a fight? We live in a federal system. The Centre and the states should function in coordination. If there is drought in Karnataka, then the Centre has a responsibility (towards it),” Siddaramaiah said.
He pointed out that the people of Karnataka pay taxes to the Centre and hence they too have the right to ask for money.
“Who pays taxes to Centre? Is it not the people of the state who pay taxes to the Centre? Is there any other set of people who pays taxes to the Centre?” Siddaramaiah posed.
The chief minister said the state has suffered a crop loss to the tune of Rs 33,700 crore due to drought.
Accordingly, Karnataka has demanded Rs 17,900 crore from the Centre, he said. ( With PTI inputs )