CM-Siddaramaiah budget fight escalates

CM-Siddaramaiah budget fight escalates

DH File photo

Disagreement is raging between coalition partners Congress and JD(S) on whether or not Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy should present a full-fledged budget on July 5.

In a candid outburst on Monday, Kumaraswamy hit out at his predecessor Siddaramaiah for stonewalling his plan to present a new budget. “Should I present a budget or not is still being talked about...I don’t know anything...some even say this government can have its own budget if it lasts beyond the Parliamentary election,” the chief minister said while addressing heads of cooperative banks.

Kumaraswamy’s remarks came a day after a video became public in which Siddaramaiah disapproved of Kumaraswamy wanting to present a full budget. Earlier, Siddaramaiah had publicly said that there was no need for a full-fledged budget as he had already presented one in February 2018. Kumaraswamy could present a supplementary budget if he wished to announce new schemes, Siddaramaiah had said. Kumaraswamy took it up with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who reportedly okayed the plan to present a full-fledged budget.

Kumaraswamy pointed out that continuing the budget Siddaramaiah tabled in February could amount to a breach of privilege for newly-elected legislators. “Nearly 100 legislators who were there then went on to lose (in the May 12 Assembly election). There are about 100 new legislators who have come in. Continuing the vote on account that was given then could amount to a breach of their privilege. What if someone moves a privilege motion against me? What should I do then?” Kumaraswamy asked.  

The chief minister also reacted to Siddaramaiah’s opinion that the state government should implement the Raitha Belaku scheme to provide financial aid for dryland farmers instead of waiving loans.

“He must have kept Rs 1,000 crore for it, but I have my own hurdles.”
Kumaraswamy told cooperative bankers that the government was determined to waive crop loans borrowed by farmers and that he was “ready to do whatever it takes” to fulfil his poll promise.

“It’s not important how long I can last. What I do now is what matters.

The idea is to ensure farmers get the direct benefit. I won’t get any commission for it, but I have information about those who do,” he said.
Kumaraswamy has announced that crop loans borrowed by small and marginal farmers between
April 1, 2009 and December 31, 2017 will be waived in phases.

He assured the cooperative banks that their demand to extend it till March 31, 2018 will be considered.

‘Not obliged to anyone’
Kumaraswamy asserted that he was not obligated to anyone.

“I know the hurdles in the coalition set-up and I know how to manage them. Naanu yaara hanginallu ivattu illi kootilla...nange bhikshe kottirodu alla idu (I’m not under anybody’s obligation...These are not alms that have been handed out to me),” the CM said. “I’m easy-going. I don’t indulge in arrogant hard talk to get work done.

That’s not my nature. I take everybody into confidence and work like a family.”