Karnataka minister flayed for altering his chambers

Bangalore, June 5 (IANS) Karnataka Forest and Environment Minister Ramanath Rai came under opposition fire Wednesday for demolishing a wall in his chambers in the secretariat allegedly to make his office 'Vastu' compliant.

Rai and fellow Congress members in the assembly were taken by surprise as the issue was raised by former Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is known to be a staunch believer in rituals.

As soon as the assembly met, Yeddyurappa demanded to know the reason for demolishing a wall in Rai's office in the majestic Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in the city centre.

"Nobody is allowed to change the structure and in spite of it a wall has been demolished. Who permitted it?" he asked.

He was backed by another former BJP chief minister Jagadish Shettar and several opposition members.

The issue was raised in the legislative council also by the Janata Dal-Secular leader M.C. Nanaiah, who flayed the minister.

For a short time there were heated exchanges between the Congress and opposition members in the assembly.

Rai claimed he did not believe in 'Vastu' and he blamed the officials for demolishing the wall without his knowledge.

"I did not order the demolition," the minister insisted.

Tempers cooled down after Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra assured the assembly that the government would ensure that no alterations were allowed in the secretariat building.

Five years back, when the BJP formed its first ministry in the state, several ministers of that party, including Yeddyurappa, faced flak as they had performed elaborate 'puja' in the chambers.

Yeddyurappa has since quit BJP and heads Karnataka Janata Party.


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