Bengaluru: Drought, devastating floods, and then Covid-19 — B.S. Yediyurappa’s BJP government in Karnataka has seen it all in its first year in power. And speaking at a virtual function to mark the anniversary, the chief minister labelled it an “agni pariksha” (trial by fire).
“It has not been easy; it has been an agni pariksha. I had to manage as a one-man cabinet when we came into power. I single-handedly toured the state to visit all the flood-affected areas and provide assistance to the affected people. We are happy to hear that families have received the compensation we announced. We have faced several hurdles and have come out of it one by one,” Yediyurappa said.
“I am not running this government with a vengeance. Despite criticism, I am able to hold my head high. All of you have supported me in this,” said the Lingayat strongman, who is on his fourth stint as CM.
About his government’s plans for the future, Yediyurappa said it will continue battling the pandemic, bring Karnataka’s economy back on track, help youngsters find employment, and ensure a stable government until the end of his term in 2023.
“We won 25 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats. In the December by-elections, we won 11 assembly seats out of 15. All our MPs, MLAs and party workers have worked unitedly to make this happen… We will make Karnataka a model state,” said Yediyurappa, giving credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for trusting him and his team.
Though the Yediyurappa government completed a year Sunday, it decided to hold the celebration the next day, in keeping with weekend lockdown norms.
The digital celebration was held at the Banquet Hall of the Vidhana Soudha, Karnataka’s seat of government. A limited number of invitees were present, including BJP MPs, MLAs and state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel. The theme of the event was ‘Savaalugala Varsha, Parihaarada Sparsha’ (Healing touch in a year of challenges).
Yediyurappa addressed the state through social media and television channels. The state government ensured that the deputy commissioners of all 30 districts were linked live to the event.
A brochure detailing the BJP government’s welfare schemes was released, as was a special book with contributions from seers, former bureaucrats and social activists listing out their experiences in various spheres like agriculture, wildlife, upliftment of the backward classes and also Covid management.
CM interacts with people virtually
CM Yediyurappa also virtually interacted with 11 people selected from various districts. One of them was Padmashree from Bijapur, who spoke about being a pregnant woman who tested positive for Covid-19, and praised the government and its efforts.
“Are you better now, sister?” asked Yediyurappa. She replied that she was fine and would like to appeal on behalf of all expectant mothers that they too get the same kind of medical attention she received.
A government staff nurse from Tumakuru, meanwhile, spoke about her experience as a ‘corona warrior’. She talked about the long working hours for medical personnel and how they have been helping people keep their spirits up. She said she had tested positive, but has now recovered completely.
Yediyurappa told her: “People like you are working tirelessly and selflessly during these corona times. You are an inspiration to all corona warriors. Please ensure you instil the same spirit and confidence around you.”
Another speaker brought a smile to Yediyurappa’s face — Vasanthakumari from Hiriyur in Chitradurga district. In April, during the lockdown, she had made a video appeal on social media, highlighting the plight of the onion farmers in her village. Her emotional video went viral and Yediyurappa had personally called her.
When Vasanthakumari spoke at the event, the CM was all smiles and asked whether they had received adequate rains to sow for the next harvest. She said the rains had not been sufficient, and hoped the government could help them.
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