Cong, BJP cross swords over fund allocation

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa speaks in the Assembly on Saturday.

Pandemonium prevailed in the Assembly on Saturday when Congress legislators from Bengaluru locked horns with the ruling BJP for slashing allocation in development grants to their constituencies. 

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah raised the issue during a debate on the demand for grants, saying the BJP government had “drastically” cut grants to Congress legislators’ constituencies. “I’m not saying allocation should be equal to MLAs of all parties, but discrmination shouldn’t be obvious,” he said. 

This led to Congress MLAs raising a furore. Former minister Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout) said the previous coalition government had allocated Rs 8,015 crore for Bengaluru development. Of this, Rs 3,752 crore was given to Congress-ruled constituencies.

“This has been reduced to Rs 943 crore,” he said, quoting statistics. “BJP MLAs had been given Rs 1,671 crore, which has increased to Rs 3,499 crore. Similarly, JD(S) MLAs had Rs 952 crore, which has been cut to Rs 52 crore,” he said. 

Bengaluru has 28 Assembly segments, of which the Congress and the BJP currently hold 11 each and the JD(S) one. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had won 15 segments of the city, but four of its MLAs have been disqualified. The JD(S) won two, but one of them was disqualified.  

Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) also cited statistics to explain allocations that were made to the 28 constituencies in Bengaluru, between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

“As chief minister, I tried to be as fair as possible while allocating funds, but I didn’t have full freedom,” he said, in a sly jibe at his coalition partner Congress. “But this issue can be resolved within five minutes by the CM, who should give an assurance to the MLAs,” he said. 

BJP’s Bommanahalli legislator Satish Reddy hit back at the Congress, saying the government was simply “undoing” the disparity in allocation. “When you were in power, how much did you give yourselves and us? Now that our party is in power, we have asked for more funds to be given to our constituencies,” Reddy argued. 

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa assured legislators that he will personally look into the allocations.

“When I was CM in 2009, all MLAs swore that I did not discriminate. Now, I will look into this and resolve the disparity,” he said.

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