BENGALURU/MYSURU: With the public spat between Union defence minister and Karnataka tourism minister Sa Ra Mahesh refusing to die down after a fresh attack by , chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Sunday sought to tone down the incident by urging everyone to forget the “small differences”.

Sitharaman and Mahesh were locked in an exchange of words over her itinerary during her visit to the flood-hit Kodagu district on August 24 in full view of officials and the media at the district commissioner‘s office.

On Sunday, former chief minister stepped up attack on Sitharaman, saying that her “attitude” was not in the right spirit.

“The attitude of the defence minister was not in the right spirit and uncalled for. Being a Rajya Sabha member, elected from Karnataka assembly, Nirmala Sitharaman should not have spoken like that,” he said in Mysuru.

However, the tenor of the attack which was maintained by senior state Congress leaders was not backed by chief minister Kumaraswamy.

“Though the government and district administration have ensured and followed protocol despite the tough situation in the region during her visit, it was unfortunate that the Hon‘ble Defence Minister had to go through certain inconveniences, which we regret. I also spoke to her over the phone on the matter,” said Kumaraswamy in a statement which was put up on social media.

Kumaraswamy said it was time for all to forget the small differences and forgive each other and join hands for the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people in Kodagu.

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“The grave situation in the district warrants it. Let us not colour such incidents and be distracted from our key focus,” he added.

Lauding Sitharaman, Kumaraswamy said she extended all possible support to carry out rescue operations and visited the flood-affected areas in Kodagu to understand the situation and to support the rehabilitation work.

The CM added that he was looking forward to the continued support of the central government, and in particular, that of the defence minister.

Kumaraswamy made a veiled effort to support Ramesh by citing that the tourism minister was in Kodagu for three days and nights, tirelessly helping in the rescue and relief measures.

“Tourism and Kodagu district in charge Minister Sa. Ra Mahesh is with the rescue and relief team, at the affected areas, coordinating their operations from the day one. He has tirelessly worked to oversee the rescue and relief operations on the ground,” he said in his statement.

Earlier, Siddaramaiah in Mysuru questioned the “step-motherly” treatment accorded to Kodagu in the release of funds by the Centre.

“The defence minister came, visited the flood affected regions and left. Nowhere did she speak of any kind of relief for the district. Why should the Centre wait for a memorandum seeking assistance to declare one?” questioned Siddaramaiah, and added that the centre must declare a Rs 1,000 crore relief package for the district.

Yesterday, the defence ministry issued a clarification + over the spat, terming Ramesh‘s conduct as “unfortunate”.

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