Politics

Karnataka Speaker Under Fire for Proposal to Gift All MLAs Gold Biscuits

State assembly speaker K.B. Koliwad has denied that he made any such proposal.

K.B. Koliwad. Credit: IANS

K.B. Koliwad. Credit: IANS

New Delhi: Media reports indicating that the Karnataka assembly speaker has proposed gifting gold biscuits to every legislator to celebrate 60 years of the Karnataka state assembly has created a controversy in the state.

According to a NDTV report, the state assembly secretariat has sent the Congress government a budget of almost Rs 27 crore for the event, of which Rs 3 crore are for the 13-gram gold biscuits to be presented to MLAs. It has also been proposed to gift the secretariat staff, from the Upper and Lower Houses, silver plates worth about Rs 6,000 each, Financial Express reported.

State assembly speaker K.B. Koliwad denied having proposed the gold biscuit gift, though he admitted to sending the budget. “There is Rs 26 crore for the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Vidhan Soudha, which includes cultural programmes. However, there is no proposal for gifting gold and silver in it. These are false allegations,” he told India Today.

“We have sent a proposal…there are various things in it. If the finance department thinks it’s expensive and rejects it then we will drop it. But we haven’t sent a proposal to give gold biscuits,” Koliwad told NDTV. Sources in chief minister Siddaramaiah’s office, however, told the channel that the proposal did include the gold biscuit plan and was rejected by the finance department. “It has been rejected by finance department, chief minister will mostly reject it once he is back in town,” the channel quoted sources as saying.

The Congress criticised the speaker’s exorbitant proposal. “This kind of proposal is just not acceptable to us and there is no need to spend such money for such things. We can use the money for other things, and we should not waste the tax payers money like this . I will definitely convey my objection to the chief minister,” Dinesh Gundu Rao, working president of the Karnataka Congress Committee, told India Today.

Opposition parties also hit out at the proposal, saying it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. “This is nonsense of the highest order, people have nothing but contempt for what’s happening in the assembly…and the council is saying members are not attending the session or taking up pro-people issues, ” BJP MLA Suresh Kumar told NDTV. “The speaker has no business to take such arbitrary decisions about public money,” added Janata Dal Secular lawmaker Ramesh Babu.