Opposition blasts budget, says it's biased

Opposition blasts budget, says it's biased

BJP councillors protest in the well of the council when S P Hemalatha, chairperson of the Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance, was presenting the budget on Monday. (DH Photo)

Triggering a bitter political slugfest between the ruling Cong-JD(S) coalition and the opposition BJP, the budget whipped up a political debate with its ‘biased allocation of funds’ to various Assembly constituencies.

The decision to provide MLAs (Assembly constituencies) with grants ignoring the corporators has left several BBMP corporators with a lot of heartburn. Terming it ‘highly discriminatory’, Opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy lashed out at the BBMP saying the Mayor has been trying her best to favour the leaders of one particular party. Even though the budget has allocated funds to all the 28 Assembly constituencies, several assembly seats have been carefully chosen and provided with bigger grants. 

Substantiating the opposition’s claim, Jayanagar (Sowmya Ramalinga Reddy) constituency has been provided with Rs 15 crore while the adjoining BTM Layout (Ramalinga Reddy) has been provided Rs 10 crore. Interestingly both the constituencies have been held by the father-daughter duo with whom the Mayor is said to be close. Similarly, the assembly seats represented by other Congress MLAs have all been provided with just Rs 5 crore each. In sharp contrast, those areas represented by the BJP leaders have been given a meagre Rs 2 and 3 crore.  

The BJP councillors protested in the well of the council against the budget presentation citing the biased allocation of funds. According to Padmanabha Reddy, the budget has allocated Rs 15 to 20 crore to the Congress and JD(S) ruled constituencies like Jayanagar, BTM Layout, and Mahalaxmi Layout and the BJP constituencies and wards have given funds of Rs 2 to 3 crore only.

Rejecting the allegations, mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said the allocations have been made based on demand. Spot allocation from the mayor grants and discretionary funds of Rs 906.24 crore, will be immediately sanctioned, she said.

“The expenditure of this budget is 10,688.63 crore, but the BBMP’s source of revenue is around Rs 6,000 crore. This is estimate budget and they will not implement most of the projects,” Padmanabha Reddy told DH. “The BBMP has the burden of Rs 25,000 crore. All 198 wards pay tax but this budget has only allocated funds to the Congress and JD(S) ruled constituency and wards. This shows the biased nature of ruling coalition parties,” criticised Reddy.