Former Chief Minister sought to know how money collected on streets by all and sundry was accounted for
Saying that the country was witnessing “religious corruption” in the name of Lord Ram, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who had earlier questioned the donation drive for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, on Wednesday asked what was the guarantee that the money being collected would actually reach the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for the temple’s construction.
He said the government was responsible for “monitoring the collection drive”. “How do you account for the money that is collected on the streets?” he asked, after receiving a backlash from religious heads, Ministers, and BJP leaders over his statement that the homes of those not contributing were being marked.
“In this country, NGOs raising funds are accountable to the government. The donation drive could have been done online. These days, everyone has a bank account, including accounts opened under the Jan Dhan scheme… This could have prevented the sticking of labels on homes. Don’t you require guidelines for donation collection? There are no ID cards and you do not know who they are. What I have suggested to them is to have transparency in collection. Have I insulted Lord Ram? It is you who have misused him,” he said. “I have not named the BJP or the VHP or any other organisations. All I suggested was to prevent the loot on the streets by individuals in the name of Lord Ram.”
Reiterating that neither he nor his party was against the donation drive, he said, “Several members of the JD(S) have already given donation. Even my family and I will donate if authorised persons approach us.”
‘What is NDA’s contribution?’
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who was seen as going soft on the BJP in recent months, on Wednesday questioned the contribution of the NDA government led by Narendra Modi in the past seven years. “What has been your contribution in seven years? To bring the price of petrol close to triple digits? Diesel will also get there in a couple of months. The LPG cylinder cost has gone up. The rights given to every citizen in the Constitution have been curtailed,” he said.
He continued, “In the past 70 years, Indian economy has grown in phases, and you criticise those who have contributed to the growth… Freedom of speech is now taken away. Anyone speaking against the government is termed as anti-national. This is an undeclared emergency.”