Karnataka Govt Spent Rs 9.49 Crore on PM Modi’s Inauguration of IIT Dharwad Campus: RTI

Karnataka Govt Spent Rs 9.49 Crore on PM Modi’s Inauguration of IIT Dharwad Campus: RTI

New Delhi: The Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka spent a cumulative Rs 9.49 crore on ferrying people, lunches, stage set-ups, branding, promotions, and other logistics for the inauguration of IIT-Dharwad’s new campus by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 12 this year.

Apart from laying the foundation stone of a permanent Indian Institute of Technology campus at Dharwad, PM Modi also announced a slew of development projects across Karnataka, days before its forthcoming assembly elections were declared.

The function saw more than two lakh people participate, a majority of whom were provided food and given transport facilities, Times of India reported. The Union minister Prahlad Joshi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai were also present at the ceremony. 

According to replies received by Janata Dal (Secular) leader Gururaj Hunsahimarad, the Hubbali-Dharwad district administration gave a break-up of the cost incurred and said that Rs 2.83 crore was spent on KSRTC buses to transport people to the venue and back, while Rs 86 lakh was spent on providing lunch. The sound, LED lighting, and CCTV installations came at Rs 40 lakh and around Rs 4.68 crore was spent on erecting a German tent, the stage, setting up a ‘green room’, and barricades.

A separate Rs 61 lakh was spent on the branding of the event.  

The RTI response on expenses incurred to organise PM Modi’s inauguration of the IIT Dharwad campus.

The information assumes significance at a time when the prime minister is visiting the southern states, dividing his time between touring the Bandipur wildlife reserve in poll-bound Karnataka and adjoining Mudumalai tiger reserve, holding campaign rallies in Hyderabad, and inaugurating new trains and the Chennai airport in Tamil Nadu.

The opposition parties in Karnataka have hit out at the grand inauguration ceremonies that PM Modi has been attending, and have alleged that public money was indirectly being spent on Modi’s election campaign for the BJP.

Commenting on the IIT-Dharwad inauguration ceremony, Hunsahimarad, who is also the JD(S) district president, told TOI, “The function seemed like an election campaign convention of BJP. This is a blatant misuse of public money and authority.” He alleged that although it was a government function, the BJP issued ‘VIP’ and ‘VVIP’ passes to people. However, these passes were ultimately denied any validity by the security staff, because of which Hunsahimarad said many senior citizens who had such passes had to struggle to get entry into the venue.

Speaking with The Wire, Hunsahimarad said, “The RTI response, given by the Hubbali-Dharwad’s deputy commissioner’s office, accounts for only the amount spent from the deputy commissioner’s fund. According to our estimates, nearly Rs 20 crore were spent on the event.”

“Private vehicles were also hired. Nearly 60,000 people were given lunch. People were lured by the BJP with the offer of Rs 1,000 per person for attending the event,” he added. He said that he had filed the RTI four days after the event on March 16, 2023 but got a reply from the DC’s office only four days ago.  

Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, a Twitter user, @churumuri, pointed out, “Narendra Modi visited Dharwad in Karnataka on 12 March 2023 to open its IIT campus. The 110-minute visit cost Rs 9.49 crore—Rs 9,49,40,270 to be precise—reveals the response to an RTI application. That works out to ‘desh seva’ at Rs 8.63 lakh per minute.” 

Mixing official engagements with party campaigning to hide expenses is standard operating procedure during election time for PMO India (Prime Minister’s Office). In Dharwad, the Rs 9.49 crore tab was picked up by the Karnataka government; South Western Railway; and Hubli-Dharwad Smart City Project Ltd,” he said, adding that the such Prime Minister’s trips doubling up as election canvassing for the BJP was “unwittingly revealed during the Punjab assembly elections in 2022.”

The ‘modus operandi’ of using official @PMOIndia trips to canvass votes for @BJP4India was unwittingly revealed during the Punjab assembly elections in 2022, when @narendramodi’s tour programme was leaked.👇🏿 https://t.co/Bdf95JuZca

— churumuri (@churumuri) April 8, 2023

The obscene expense incurred in staging @narendramodi’s event in Dharwad on 12 March is only one part of the saga.

Earlier that day, @PMOIndia inaugurated the Mysore-Bangalore expressway with a stage event and a road show.

How much did that cost?

Whose cause does it serve? https://t.co/fTIpU9IcwK pic.twitter.com/dPYTi159ro

— churumuri (@churumuri) April 8, 2023

Modi has come twice to Dharwad in 2 months. He has visited Karnataka 9 times in 2023. More visits are due before elections on May 10.

If a 110-minute visit costs Rs 9.49 crore—not counting flights to and from Delhi; chopper rides; security; hotel stays—who pays for the preening? pic.twitter.com/nmPwnUmpXk

— churumuri (@churumuri) April 8, 2023

@churumuri estimated that given a sum of around Rs 10 crore per event, PM Modi’s events over the last nine years may have cost the states’s exchequers over Rs 10,000 crore.

Similar expenses were incurred by the state government in other events attended by PM Modi too. The Kannada daily Prajavani reported that according to a RTI response received by one Akash Patil of Shimoga, the state government paid Rs 3.94 crore to 1,600 KSRTC buses for ferrying people to the function in which Modi inaugurated the Shimoga airport on February 27, 2023. The amount was paid to the KSRTC by an executive engineer of the state’s Public Works Department.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.