Karnataka

Air of unease as Karnataka Budget divides top leaders

Siddaramaiah

Siddaramaiah   | Photo Credit: H_S_Manjunath

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Congress leaders Parameshwara, Shivakumar back Chief Minister

 

Sparks have erupted again between Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and his predecessor and coalition co-ordination panel chairman Siddaramaiah on the proposed farm loan wavier and the presentation of a full-fledged budget by the Congress-JD(S) government.

In a video clip that has gone viral, Mr. Siddaramaiah is seen telling his supporters at the SDM Yoga and Nature Cure Hospital, Dharmasthala, that “if a single party had come to power, then they can go ahead and table a new budget and we cannot have any objection. But he (Mr. Kumaraswamy) became CM with our support. The Congress has already tabled the (last) budget.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara and Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar have come to the support of the Chief Minister and said it was natural for a new government to table the budget.

Annoyed by Mr. Siddaramaiah’s comments, Mr. Kumaraswamy on Monday said: “Arguments and counter-arguments are being made on the presentation of budget. I am in a dilemma. I don’t know what to do.”

Apparently taking a dig at the former CM, Mr. Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said: “I am really confused over whether to present a full-fledged budget, get a vote on account for the budget presented by Mr. Siddaramaiah, or present a new budget after the polls to the Lok Sabha next year.”

More than a hundred new MLAs have been elected to the Assembly and it would be difficult to allocate grants for development of constituencies being represented by the new MLAs without presenting a full-fledged budget. “There is every possibility of new members moving a privilege motion if I do not present a new budget,” he said.

‘At no one’s mercy’

Mr. Kumaraswamy, who chaired a meeting with cooperative bank officials on the proposed farm loan waiver, also said Mr. Siddaramaiah was “insisting on continuing his (Siddaramaiah) budget, but I am not at the mercy of anyone”. “No one gave the CM’s post to me as alms. Moreover, waiving farm loans will benefit farmers and I will not get any commission on this,” he said.

He also said officials need not worry about the longevity of this coalition government. Their responsibility is just to implement the government’s orders and not allow mediators to benefit in the name of farmers, he said.

Noting that the Congress government had waived cooperative farm loans to the tune of ₹8,000 crore, Mr. Kumaraswamy said further waiver of such loans would cost an additional ₹10,000 crore to the State exchequer. The implementation of a new pay scale for State government employees would cost ₹17,000 crore, he said. He added that the modalities of loan waiver would be announced in the budget.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at Idagunji in Uttara Kannada district, former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda said Mr. Kumaraswamy would indeed present the budget on July 5 and no one should have any doubt about that.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:02:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/air-of-unease-as-karnataka-budget-divides-top-leaders/article24256927.ece

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