Full budget or not? Cong, JD(S) differ

Full budget or not? Cong, JD(S) differ

H D Kumaraswamy

The question of whether or not Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy should present a new budget has become a new bone of contention between alliance partners Congress and the JD(S). 

While Kumaraswamy wants to present a full-fledged budget, his coalition partner Congress is not keen. 

Kumaraswamy told reporters in Delhi on Saturday that he would convene a Cabinet meeting and discuss his plan to present a full budget.

The chief minister, who is in Delhi to attend the Niti Aayog meeting on Sunday, insisted that presenting a full budget was a practice whenever a new government came to power.

“A coalition government of JD(S)-Congress has come to power in the state,” he said.

“Both have announced several programmes and we have to implement them. We can’t announce the new welfare schemes in just a supplementary budget. We have formed a panel to prepare the common minimum programme of the coalition government and have sought a report in 10 days,” the chief minister said.

“The next session will be convened in the first week of next month, during which we plan to present the budget,” he added. Earlier, in the day former chief minister and Chairman of the Coordination Committee Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru that the new government need not present a full budget since he had already presented a budget before elections and taken a vote an account.

Countering this, Kumaraswamy said, “I can recall that Siddaramaiah himself had said that once a new government headed by him returns to power, he might have to present a full budget.”

“A full-fledged budget has been tabled already,” Siddaramaiah said referring to the last budget he presented as chief minister in February. “We have a vote on account for that budget till the end of July. All ongoing programmes and new programmes announced in the budget will continue. If Kumaraswamy wants to have additional programmes or schemes, he can do it through a supplementary budget.”

Siddaramaiah’s remark comes a day after Kumaraswamy revealed that he was under pressure to present a supplementary budget instead of a new one. It is now learnt that when the matter came up for discussion in the first meeting of the coordination committee on June 14, Kumaraswamy disagreed with the Congress’ suggestion of presenting a supplementary budget. The coordination committee resolved that programmes announced by the previous administration, including even those Siddaramaiah announced in his last budget, would continue in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.  

The alliance partners are also at loggerheads over waiving farmers’ loans. While Siddaramaiah said he was not against it, he said loan waiver will be discussed by the five-member committee tasked with drafting a common minimum programme. “I’m not against the loan waiver. Loan waiver among many other things will be discussed by the committee,” Siddaramaiah said. Amid this, Siddaramaiah will nestle away for 12 days at a nature cure centre in Dharmasthala. He will leave on Sunday and return by the end of this month. “There’s fluctuation in my sugar and blood pressure levels. I’ve to get ready for the Parliamentary election.”

Govt stable: HDK

In Delhi, asked about his statement that nobody can touch him for one year, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said, “I have no worries about my government stability. It is the media who are facing uncertainty. You people keep running programmes after programme about the future of my government. Let there be an end to this and give us at least one year to implement welfare schemes.” Kumaraswamy is said to have sought an appointment with Congress president Rahul Gandhi to discuss state-related issues. He is likely to broach the subject of a full budget with him.