Rs 15 L from Karnataka for Rahul’s LS seat in Kerala raises storm

New Delhi | Updated: 20 February, 2024 7:31 pm IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay yatra' in Bihar.

BENGALURU: Opposition parties in Karnataka have raised objections against the state government’s decision to grant compensation to a victim from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala. The controversy erupted as the government disbursed Rs 15 lakh ex gratia to the family of a man who was trampled to death by an elephant from Karnataka.

Accusations were directed at the Karnataka government, alleging that the compensation was provided under pressure from Rahul Gandhi, sidelining the interests of farmers within the state who recently lost their lives.

Vijayendra Yeddyurappa, the BJP state president, criticised the move, particularly targeting Karnataka Forest Minister Eshwar B Khandre for releasing Rs 15 lakhs to the family of Ajeesh Joseph Panachiyil, the victim from Wayanad.

“This decision to allocate funds to a person who died in Kerala due to an elephant attack is a misuse of state funds. It is evident that the directive stemmed from Rahul Gandhi’s demand. Furthermore, there are concerns that the government is planning to lift the ban on traffic movement in the Bandipur reserve forest area, likely influenced by pressures from Rahul Gandhi,” stated BS Vijayendra.

In a letter addressed to Rahul Gandhi, State Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre acknowledged the decision to compensate the family of the deceased farmer, Ajeesh, in Wayanad, based on the advice received from the MP.

“The Karnataka government has announced compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs to the family of the deceased, following your advice conveyed through telephonic communication. This decision was made after discussions with Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah,” the minister’s letter read.

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