Leaders splurged during Kumaraswamy swearing in, Kejriwal ordered food and beverages worth 70,000

Documents obtained by Times Group media outlets show that the newly formed Karnataka government had spent an extravagant amount of money to host the CMs of other states and other political leaders during HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony. According to a report in Bangalore Mirror, while the state hospitality department had not spent any money during the swearing-in ceremonies of two former CMs, Siddaramaiah and BS Yeddyurappa, it had spent a whopping 42 lakh rupees to host political leaders for the 7-minute swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy.

The documents reveal that the political leaders from other states were hosted in two 5-star hotels in Bengaluru, Taj West End and Shangri-La. The state hospitality department had also spent Rs 4,35,001 on the tea and snacks buffet organised at the Vidhana Soudha, catered by Taj West End.

The report in Bangalore Mirror has also provided a break-up of the amount spent on many political leaders individually. According to the report, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, who was hosted at Taj West End, was the most expensive guest with a bill of Rs 8,72,485 in four different invoices.

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who came to power on the plank of being an ‘aam aadmi’ or a ‘common man’ and was under scanner for exorbitant food bills as well as extravagant samosa expenses to the tune of Rs. 1 crore, cost the Karnataka taxpayers Rs 1,85,287. In this, the cost of food and beverages alone for an in-room service during a short window of 2 hours at Taj West End is reportedly above Rs 70,000. It should be noted that Arvind Kejriwal’s love for food and beverages at taxpayers’ money is not new. An RTI in April this year had revealed Kejriwal had spent over Rs. 1 crore only on the refreshments in the 3 years he has been in the office.

Among other leaders, the Karnataka government has paid Rs 1,02,400 for Tejashwi Yadav, Rs 1,67,457 for Sharad Yadav, Rs 1,02,400 for SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, Rs 1,02,400 for Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Rs 1,41,443 for BSP supremo Mayawati and Rs 1,02,400 for Congress leader Ashok Gehlot respectively. Actor Kamal Hasan, CPI leader Sitaram Yechury, AIMIM chief Owaisi, former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and Babulal Marandi were hosted too. Their bills too reportedly run in lakhs of rupees collectively. The Bangalore Mirror report states that the state Hospitality Department has refused to provide information on the money spent to host Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

The alliance government in Karnataka is yet to come up with a farm loan waiver scheme and municipality workers have reportedly not been paid for months. In such a time the extravagant expenses incurred by political leaders who claim to care for the poor and downtrodden in the country is being widely criticised.

Earlier, the Kumaraswamy government was also criticised for wasting taxpayer’s money for sending expensive gifts to MPs from the state. Ironically, Kumaraswamy had told media after taking the oath that he will not be staying in the official CM residence as he does not want to waste people’s money. Later it was revealed that he was doing it for ‘Vastu’ reasons.

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