Nirmala Sitharaman was interacting with a group of affected people here when Mashesh, the district in-charge minister, told her that officials were waiting for her for a review meeting and they have to go for rehabilitation work.
Nirmala Sitharaman:Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Karnataka Minister Sa Ra Mahesh were Friday, locked in an exchange of words over her itinerary during a visit to the flood-hit Kodagu district. The entire episode took place in the presence of officials and the media at the district commissioner’s office here.
Sitharaman was interacting with a group of affected people here when Mashesh, the district in-charge minister, told her that officials were waiting for her for a review meeting and they have to go for rehabilitation work.
He said she can first address the officials to which Sitharaman too agreed.
However, Sitharaman noted that she was only going by the minute-by-minute programme drawn up for her visit and she had been following the minister in-charge and the itinerary.
I follow the minister in charge. Central minister follows the minister in charge here. Unbelievable! You have a list of minute-to-minute for me to follow…I am doing as per your schedule,” she said.
Sitharaman, Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, then sought to know how many of the officials were from the field taking care of the rehabilitation work and said she did not want the work to be upset.
Later, Mahesh dubbed Sitharaman’s comments as a reaction to the demand for funds from the centre to Kodagu.
“She would have known the pain had she contested election by standing with the electorate, going to every house, meeting voters and asked their problems. She has been elected to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka,” he told a TV channel.
The district in-charge minister said the state had requested her that the centre should extend relief for Kodagu just like it did for Kerala.
The torrential rains that lashed the district last week has left a huge trail of destruction and claimed at least 17 lives. More than 5,000 people have been rendered homeless.