Has Siddaramaiah become a parrot in the Congress cage? This was a question posed in the Legislative Council on Tuesday by Janata Dal (Secular) Floor Leader M.C. Nanaiah who alleged that fiscal prudence, which used to be the hallmark of Mr. Siddaramaiah, was missing in the recent State Budget presented by him, perhaps due to pressure within the Congress.
“It appears that Mr. Siddaramaiah has succumbed to political compulsions within the Congress,” Mr. Nanaiah observed while participating in a debate on the budget.Debt burden
He said the increased debt burden was due to the freebies rolled out in the budget. “Is it not a matter of concern for all of us that the debt burden per head is Rs. 27,000 in the State, and despite this freebies are being given,” he said.
He was not against helping the poor, Mr. Nanaiah said, and added that any subsidised programme should be well targeted at the needy sections so that it could have some positive impact. “But proper identification of poor families appears to be missing as the State has distributed BPL cards to about 1.1 crore families of the total 1.36 crore families.”
Expressing concern that such a lack of efforts to target the subsidies would only increase the loan burden and affect the State’s development, he urged Mr. Siddaramaiah to “wake up to the reality.”
He said, “I’m sure that Mr. Siddaramaiah is personally not in favour of such untargeted sops. But the forthcoming elections, coupled with the competition within the Congress for the Chief Ministerial post, have forced him to indulge in such populism.”