In an RTI report, the cost of the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy which occurred on May 23, 2018, has been revealed. It is found out that the cost involved in the dining and accommodation of the high-profile leaders invited to the swearing ceremony was 42 lakhs, reported Bangalore Mirror.

Leaders invited by Janata Dal(Secular) stayed at five-star hotels. N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh arrived at Taj West End on May 23 at 9.49 am and checked out on May 24 at 05.34 am, his bill cost Rs 8.7 lakh. While Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal who stayed at the same hotel, his bill ran up to Rs 1.85 lakh. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati spent more than Rs 1 lakh.

The cost of inviting these 42 top leaders bore by the Karnataka government put a dent of 42 lakhs in the treasury. The exact division has been revealed by the RTI on a request made by an activist.

As per Mumbai Mirror report, the State Hospitality Organisation, Government of Karnataka, did not pay the accommodation costs of the guests invited during the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah in 2013 and BS Yeddyurappa in 2018.

For the swearing-in ceremony of CM HD Kumaraswamy, the State Hospitality Organisation spent more than Rs 37 lakhs on May 23 and May 24 for food and accommodation at five-star hotels–Taj West End and Shangri La. Rs 4,35,001 was spent on hi-tea buffet organized at Vidhana Soudha Banquet Hall on May 23, reported Mumbai Mirror.

After the total cost was revealed, it received wide condemnation from opposition leaders and prominent personalities. Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Karnataka Lokayukta, said, “The state government has been claiming that it has no money to take up developmental projects. It is the responsibility of the political party, which invited these leaders, to bear the expenses. The state government should have accommodated the invitees at its guesthouses in Bengaluru.”

“The dignitaries should have thought twice before wasting money. They should have realized that they are not supposed to feast on others’ money. It is very unfortunate that neither the invitees nor their hosts thought of utilizing the tax-payers’ money prudently,” chided freedom fighter HS Doreswamy.

BJP spokesperson Ashwath Narayana said,”Deve Gowda wanted to use the opportunity to become the leader of the Third Front. If Deve Gowda has any conscience, arrangements should be made to pay the amount (Rs 42 lakh) to the state exchequer from Janata Dal (S) bank account. JD (S) leaders have no moral right to speak about austerity measures to strengthen the state’s finances.”

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