Upping the ante against the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti for asking a man seeking more rice under the PDS to die, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah demanded his ouster from the cabinet.
“This is not an utterance of a responsible minister. I condemn it strongly and request Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to remove Umesh Katti from the cabinet,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
He was reacting to Katti’s reported remark to a farmer from Gadag to die for seeking more rice under the public distribution system to the economically weaker section.
Slamming the BJP government, Siddaramaiah said, “When we were in power, we were giving seven kilograms of rice to protect people but these people (ruling BJP) have gone to the extent of telling people to die by reducing the quota of rice.”
Stating that Katti had no moral right to continue as a minister, Siddaramaiah said asking people to die when asked to give more rice show arrogance and “such statement amounts to abetting the offence (suicide).”
The senior Congress leader demanded that the government should give 10 kg of rice per head during this lockdown, which came into effect in the state from April 27 night to May 12 morning.
“What’s wrong in giving 10 kg rice? Let them give it. Government is meant to protect the people. I demand the government should take a decision immediately to provide 10 kg of rice per head every month,” Siddharamaiah said.
The minister not only drew the ire of opposition Congress and the JD(S) but also the Chief Minister who too condemned the statement.
The Chief Minister’s Office, in a statement, quoted Yediyurappa as saying that he disapproved of the remarks and that it does not behove a minister to tell a farmer to die when the latter demanded five kg of rice.
“Arrangements are being made to give five kg of rice to the people in the area who do not need wheat,” he said.