Siddaramaiah gives no commitment to extending scheme to all communities

The State government on Friday did not make a clear commitment on extending the Shaadi Bhagya scheme to all communities, and only said it would keep an “open mind” on the demand.

Replying to a discussion in the Legislative Assembly on the subject, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra said the government would consider the Opposition’s demand. This ruffled the feathers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Karnataka Janata Paksha members, who staged separate walkouts taking exception to the government not committing itself to implementing their demand.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah only reiterated that the government would seriously examine the Opposition’s demand.

This provoked a heated exchange between the Congress and the Opposition. Describing the scheme that is now open only to the minorities as “divisive”, the BJP members accused the Congress of failing to uphold secular principles. While staging the walkout, BJP floor leader Jagadish Shettar called the Congress “communal”. Taking exception to this, the Chief Minister accused the BJP of being “communal and fascist”.

Earlier, KJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had staged a 23-day dharna in Bangalore and a three-day dharna in the Assembly demanding extension of the scheme to all communities, alleged that the scheme would affect social harmony.

‘Negative impact’

He warned the Congress that it may have to feel the negative impact of the scheme during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The principal Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) suggested to the government to extend the scheme to all communities so that it would not be possible for anybody to take political advantage of the situation.

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