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Tejasvi Surya ‘communalises’ Covid fight by accusing Muslim volunteers of beds allotment racket

Video surfaces showing Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya in BBMP south war room reading out names of Muslim volunteers who he claimed were taking bribes & illegally allocating beds. 

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Bengaluru: A day after he alleged a Covid-19 bed allocation scam in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya landed in a fresh row Wednesday after a video surfaced on social media showing the MP suggesting that 17 Muslim volunteers of the BBMP’s south zone unit may be responsible for the lack of beds in the city.  

The video shows Surya being present in the BBMP’s south zone war room and reeling off the names of 17 Muslim volunteers before asking an official on what basis they were hired. 

Surya was accompanied by his uncle and Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya, Chickpet MLA Uday Garudachar and Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy. They are all seen accusing officials in the war room of being partial to Muslims. 

On his part, Surya can be heard seeking the qualifications of the 17 Muslim volunteers and then objecting to a women BBMP officer explaining that the 17 were sent by a recruiting agency. 

“Which is that agency? Call them now. I want to ask them,” he can be heard saying.  

In between, Surya’s uncle, Ravi Subramanya, can be heard saying, “Is this a madrassa?” 

Surya can also be heard saying if “they (Muslim volunteers) were recruited for a corporation or a madrasa”.

The BBMP south zone war room has 205 members, of whom 17 were Muslims. 

The MP faced flak as soon as the video went viral on social media. 

Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah tweeted urging Surya to seek treatment for the “communal virus in his brain”. 

“Tejasvi Surya, why are you extending your dirty habit of dragging caste/religion to everything from the food we eat to human life, even to the Corona disease? The communal virus in your brain is more dangerous than coronavirus. Please seek treatment for it,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.  

 

The former chief minister also tweeted that all of them had picked the wrong targets. 

“Tejasvi, Satish Reddy and Ravi Subramanya, your covert operation to expose Covid mismanagement should not be conducted against the officials of the BBMP, but against the chief Minister, and other ministers, Karnataka BJP lawmakers and MPs. Protecting the big whales,” he tweeted.

 

Calls and messages by ThePrint to Surya went unanswered. 

Speaking to ThePrint, Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy, who was present at the war room, said their actions have opened up beds in the city.  

“There are nearly 4,500 beds in Bengaluru, which were blocked by patients confined to home isolation. With our expose, they have now been opened up for those in need,” he said. “We have been given an assurance by the CM that a detailed investigation will be conducted. If anybody is found guilty, they will be punished.”


Also read: ‘Houseful’ sign at Bengaluru crematorium as it runs out of space to cremate or even keep bodies


The bed allocation ‘scam’

Surya had held a press conference Tuesday to allege widespread corruption in the allocation of Covid-19 beds by the BBMP, which is the Bengaluru civic body. 

“Upon investigation, it came to light that some arogya mitras deputed in private hospitals, those manning BBMP helplines and bed booking system incharges as well as certain private hospitals have created artificial scarcity by resorting to a few unscrupulous methods and are consequently denying deserving patients much needed hospital care,” the MP had said.

Soon after, he tweeted claiming that due his expose, the BBMP website, which initially showed zero beds at all government hospitals in the city, suddenly showed 1,504 available beds. 

 

The press conference itself had led to controversy, after WhatsApp forwards claimed that BBMP Joint Commissioner for Covid Care Centres and Solid Waste  Management, Sarfaraz Khan, was involved in the bed allocation scam. 

Khan took to Facebook to point out that he had no role in the war room and that it was being handled by the special commissioner (health). He also pointed out that he had no role in the recruitment of staff to the war room or the Covid-19 centres. 

Later on Wednesday, Khan recorded and posted on Facebook, a call he received from Tejasvi Surya, in which the MP is heard saying he respects Khan’s work and that he did not target him in the press conference.

MP slammed for communal politics

As soon as the video surfaced, Surya received flak from the opposition and on social media.

Congress leaders such as Mansoor Khan, among others, took to Twitter to accuse Surya of communalising Covid-19 relief efforts. 

 

Other also slammed him for indulging in communal politics.

 

 

BJP’s national General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santhosh, however, defended the MP. Santhosh tweeted that the MP had only exposed the bed scam and the nexus behind it.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


Also read: Lack of oxygen blamed as 24 patients, including 12 with Covid, die at Karnataka govt hospital


 

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