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Karnataka legislators junket off, told to return at once


Bellary (Karnataka): Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar Tuesday directed a group of legislators touring South America to cancel the visit and return immediately, following public outrage over the trip when the state is facing a severe drought.

He also announced cancellation of similar ‘study tours’ to Russia and Scandinavian countries by two more groups of legislators scheduled for later this month and early next month.

“I have cancelled the tours. The legislators who are already in a foreign country have been asked to return immediately,” Shettar told reporters in this north Karnataka town, about 300 km from Bangalore.

A group of 12 legislators belonging to all three main political parties – the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular – left Bangalore last Thursday for a two-week tour of Argentina, Chile and Peru. They were accompanied by three officials.

The tour was costing the public around Rs.1 crore as each legislator was entitled to spend around Rs.700,000 for the trip.