From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Feb 11: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has strongly objected to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that Karnataka’s treasury is empty because of the Congress government’s guarantee schemes and challenged that the latter to join him in a public debate on the State’s finances.
"If Amit Shah is of the firm opinion that the State’s treasury has become empty because of the guarantee schemes, he should participate in a public debate with me. I can prove that our treasury is not empty because of the guarantee schemes. Instead, there is an unfair distribution of taxes from the Centre to the State. This is also a challenge to Amit Shah,’’ he said.
Siddaramaiah said: ‘’If the BJP leaders are opposed and object to the guarantee schemes, they should clearly state their opposition immediately. Similarly, let them announce in the states governed by the BJP that all current guarantee schemes will be discontinued.’’
He took strong exception to the BJP leaders trying to destabilise guarantee schemes in Karnataka. "Let the BJP leaders clarify if they harbour hatred for the people of Karnataka?’’ he said.
The chief minister said Home Minister Amit Shah, who has arrived in Karnataka, has vented his envy towards our government by saying "the treasury is empty because of the guarantee schemes".
He mentioned that while talking about Karnataka, the same BJP leaders who oppose the guarantee schemes in our state are promising to implement the same guarantee schemes in the states they govern.
‘’Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who opposed our guarantee schemes, has now stolen not only our guarantee schemes but also the name 'guarantee' and is advertising as "Modi ki Guarantee". This shows the anti-poor stance and intellectual bankruptcy of that party,’’ he said.
'BJP is anti-poor'
Siddaramaiah said: "From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Amit Shah and local BJP leaders, their real opposition is not to the guarantee schemes but to the beneficiaries of these schemes, the poor.’’
‘’There is a history of BJP and the Sangh Parivar opposing any programmes intended for the poor. Even when the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called for "Garibi Hatao", (Eradicate Poverty), the same RSS-BJP opposed it. They have always opposed social justice programs including land reforms and reservations. The poor should give a fitting reply to this,’’ he said.
"During my first term as chief minister, BJP leaders had shown their intolerance and jealousy towards the welfare programmes for the poor like Anna Bhagya, Ksheera Bhagya and Indira Canteen that I had introduced. The central government, which had refused to provide the rice for the Anna Bhagya scheme, is now selling the same rice under the brand 'Bharat'. The central government, which had refused to provide rice at Rs. 33 per kilo when we asked, is now selling it at Rs 29 per kilo.’’
He made it clear that the BJP has intolerance towards the poor, farmers, women, and workers of Karnataka.
He also pointed out that Amit Shah, who speaks against our guarantee schemes, shows disdain for Kannadigas. "Opposition to the Kannada flag and attempts Hindi imposition. The conspiracy to favour Amul over Nandini brand are all achievements of Amit Shah. If the central government has to provide disaster relief, a high-level committee meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah has to decide. Amit Shah, who is antagonistic towards Kannadigas, does not even call for such a meeting. Such people come to our state and lecture us," Siddaramaiah said.
The chief minister said "Reducing the hardships of the poor and wiping their tears is the true devotion to God, as I understand. No matter how many times you chant the name of Rama while causing harm to the poor, it is futile. What is the use of offering Naivedya to God without providing food to the poor? What is the benefit of building temples for God without providing homes to the poor? Those who oppose the guarantee schemes cannot have the mercy of any Rama. They cannot have the blessings of Mother Chamundeshwari,’’ he said.
Farmer leaders laud CM
Meanwhile, leaders of farmers and their representatives, who participated in a pre-budget discussion with the chief minister on the forthcoming budget for the year 2024-25, lauded Siddaramaiah for introducing the guarantees and helping the poor and farmers.
Urging the Chief Minister to come out with a farmers’ budget and implementing their charter of demands, the farmers wanted the Congress government to become a model state in responding to the concerns of the farmers just as it took the bold steps for implementing the guarantees.
Raitha Sangha leader Badagalapura Nagendra, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, urged the government to take steps for improving the health and financial well-being of farmers and ensure that seeds and fertilisers were distributed in time.
Welcoming the State Government’s decision of releasing financial assistance for the revival of the Mandya Sugar factory, he urged the government to take over the factory and run it to help farmers.