CM Siddaramaiah, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya trade charges over compensation to martyr’s family

PTI, Dec 6, 2023, 9:09 AM IST

A war of words ensued between Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and BJP MP Tejasvi Surya over compensation to the family of Captain Pranjal M V, who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir last month.

Surya, who is MP from Bengaluru South, alleged that the chief minister denied announcing before the media any compensation to the next of kin of Capt Pranjal.

Siddaramaiah hit out at the BJP MP for misrepresenting his statement and circulating it on social media.

Through a post on ‘X’ on December 2, Surya had asked Siddaramaiah that even after 10 days of Capt Pranjal’s supreme sacrifice, no one from the state government contacted his family yet.

“It’s been 10 days since Capt Pranjal attained martyrdom in the service of our nation. Yet the State Govt has not moved to provide a respectful honorarium to the kin of the departed soul. They are not even contacted in this regard.

“While no compensation can bring back Capt Pranjal, and as usual media focus moves to other issues, it’s important that his parents are provided adequate support through these tough times. I request CM @siddaramaiah and DCM @DKShivakumar to not delay this issue and immediately issue Rs 50 Lakh compensation to Capt Pranjal’s parents,” Surya wrote on ‘X’ on December 2.

Surya also posted a Siddaramaiah’s video on ‘X’.

The video pertains to Siddaramaiah’s interaction with a Kannada news channel during which he was asked about Surya’s statement on paying compensation to the martyr’s family.

In reply, the chief minister purportedly said, “Who had announced to pay (to Pranjal’s family)? Who had said about compensation and then declined to pay? It is a different matter that we will pay but who had promised to pay? Did I, my government or anyone say that? You simply ask questions without knowing anything.” Siddaramaiah further said in the video that the amount will be given if it has to be paid. He reiterated that the government has announced to pay Rs 50 lakh to him.

Regarding the demand for Rs 1 crore, the chief minister said if Rs 1 crore has been paid to the martyrs by any state in the country, including Uttar Pradesh, he should be provided with an order copy.

As the video went viral, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday posted his statement on ‘X’ slamming Surya.

“It has come to my attention that a BJP MP named Tejaswi Surya has misrepresented my statement and circulated it on social media. In the video, due to the background noise, the initial part of the reporter’s query was unclear.

“When I realised the question pertained to the late Capt Pranjal, I not only asserted that the state government is committed to provide compensation, but also said that if any other state has given a compensation of Rs 1 crore to the martyred soldiers, we are also ready to give the same amount,” he explained.

Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday government officials presented Capt Pranjal’s family with a compensation cheque.

He accused Surya of circulating a misleading clip for political gain and disrespecting not just Capt Pranjal and his kin but also the wider military community.

Should this MP possess any shred of dignity, he would acknowledge his fault and issue a public apology, the chief minister said.

The public recognises that for the BJP, the nation, the God, and the soldiers are merely instruments for their political ends, Siddaramaiah said.

“The day the mortal remains of Capt. Pranjal were brought here, even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Bengaluru, he did not show the courtesy to pay last respects and offer condolences to the bereaved family. Yet, we did not create controversy over it. However, the BJP MP has shamefully exploited a hero’s ultimate sacrifice for his propagation of falsehoods, aiming to damage my credibility — a deplorable act,” he added.

Hours after Siddaramaiah’s post, Surya too took to ‘X’ and said that it was true that for more than 12 days after Capt Pranjal’s martyrdom, no official of the state government had contacted his family regarding ex-gratia compensation.

The MP also alleged that the chief minister denied announcing any compensation before the media.

“It’s also true that until I wrote to you reminding you to fulfil your promise, there was no intent shown from the State Government to provide the compensation. It’s equally true that subsequent to my second press statement, the officials released an order late last night,” Surya said.

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