Putting all speculations to rest, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday, June 28, clarified that his upcoming trip to the United States is unofficial and he will be travelling on personal expenses.
Kumaraswamy is facing criticism for allegedly using taxpayers' money for unofficial purposes. While briefing the media, the Janata Dal (Secular) leader said, "I am travelling to New Jersey to participate in a foundation laying ceremony of Adichunchanagiri Mutt. It is not an official tour. I am travelling on my personal expenses."
Kumaraswamy just concluded the first leg of his village outreach programme at Ujalamaba village in Bidar district. The Chief Minister said credit for the ''Gram Vastavya'' programme goes to the Congress-JD(S) coalition. "The cabinet ministers from Congress party also participated in the village stay with me. So the credit goes to the government and the officials from all departments," he said.
Kumaraswamy, who is facing criticism from the opposition on his stay at villagers' homes, said, "In a school in Yadgir, I saw a slogan that says 'silence is the only answer for the meaningless question'. So I choose not to react on this anymore."
A few days back, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had reportedly raised questions over Kumaraswamy conducting official meetings at a five-star hotel, which is situated next to his allotted official home in Bengaluru.
Retaliating to his apparent portrayal as a "five-star" Chief Minister, he had said, "Have I submitted any expenditure bill to the government? It is my personal issue. I am not interested in getting a certificate from friends from BJP. I will work according to my conscience."
Also, Congress leader M Veerappa Moily had criticised Kumaraswamy over his village tour, saying "simply sitting" does not work. "Simply sitting after becoming a chief minister or minister does not work. It is important to concentrate on schemes and their implementation. Chief Ministers or ministers roaming around in villages does not work," Mr Moily had said.
(With agency inputs)