'Am I not giving money for development', says HDK

'Am I not giving money for development', says HDK

An angry Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday strongly defended his budget amid criticism from various quarters, including from members of his alliance partner, Congress. DH file photo

An angry Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday strongly defended his budget amid criticism from various quarters, including from members of his alliance partner, Congress.

“I’m aware of the things being talked about the budget I have presented. Instead of reading the nuances and understanding my long-term vision, they are making a big fuss about the increase of petrol and diesel prices,” Kumaraswamy told reporters.

The rebuttal came even as Kumaraswamy said he will “answer everything” on the floor of the Legislature in the ongoing Budget session. “I appeal to the people and farmers. I have waived off loans worth Rs 34,000 crore. Don’t hurt me. If you continue committing suicide, why did I have to take this decision? This is just the first phase. In a phased manner, I will cover all farmers,” he said. “I am not the chief minister of just one community. I am the chief minister of the farmers.”

He hit out at the BJP and the media for not understanding the budget and “creating confusion.”

Kumaraswamy asserted there was no compromise on development despite the loan waiver and tax hikes. “Am I giving Rs 34,000 crore to dacoits, or am I taking it home? It’s for the farmers.”

Defending the taxation on energy consumption, he asked if paying 10 paise was more. “Am I not giving money for development? I’ve given
Rs 150 crore for schools? I’ve given Rs 1,000 crore for Bengaluru. There’s
Rs 250 crore for fisheries. There’s Rs 500 crore for government colleges. But I give Rs 30 crore for a ring road in Hassan and everybody loses their mind,” he said.

Kumaraswamy rubbished claims that the budget had little for the people of north Karnataka to cheer about. Veteran Congress leader
H K Patil has raised the issue. “The highest beneficiaries of the farm loan waiver are in Belagavi, Bagalkot and Vijayapura. I haven’t stopped irrigation projects. Who benefits from this most? It is north Karnataka,” he said, also pointing out that the budget
proposed setting up of industrial hubs in Kalaburagi, Bidar and Koppal. “There’s no question of north Karnataka or old Karnataka. My aim is
all-round development of
Karnataka.”

Hitting out at those opposing the Rs 15,000-crore elevated corridor project for Bengaluru, he said: “Do they want traffic jams or development? My long-term vision is development only. I don’t have personal desires while planning projects.”

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