Karnataka: Congress, BJP spar over govt hiring BCG to fix finances

Vijayendra terms the decision outrageous; MB Patil says BSY, Bommai engaged firm too during their tenure
BJP state president BY Vijayendra
BJP state president BY Vijayendra

BENGALURU: The Congress government’s decision to hire Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for a whopping Rs 9.5 crore for six months to oversee the state’s finances has triggered a political controversy.

With Opposition BJP taking strong exception to the decision, the ruling Congress hit back stating that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government had hired BCG to prepare its ‘Vision Document 2047’.

BJP state president BY Vijayendra on Thursday termed the state government’s move outrageous. “Outrageous decision by the Siddaramaiah government to hire a foreign consultant to oversee our state’s finances. This is akin to handing over the reins to the East India Company,” he posted on ‘X’.

Reacting to this, Industries Minister MB Patil said BCG is a prestigious firm with a global presence. The state government has availed its services for many years.“The BJP should first question why PM Modi appointed BCG to prepare Vision Document 2047. Baseless allegations like this don’t deserve any attention,” he posted on ‘X’.

Patil told reporters that BCG has been hired in a transparent manner by inviting tenders. “When BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai were CMs, they engaged the firm. We too have hired the firm for its guidance on financial matters,” he said, defending the government’s decision. Patil said Vijayendra should first do his homework properly before making such statements.

Replying to the allegation that Siddaramaiah government’s financial status is in a bad shape owing to the implementation of five guarantee schemes and this led to hiring BCG to help boost its revenues, Patil sought to know if the Modi government too faced a similar situation and hired the firm.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Dinesh Gundurao also criticised the BJP for making it an issue.

Attacking the government, Leader of Opposition R Ashoka on Wednesday posted on ‘X’: “What is the need for hiring Boston Consulting Group when a self-proclaimed economist like Siddaramaiah is the Chief Minister of the state? Not sure whether it will boost the revenues of the state. But it will definitely boost the revenues of the private consultancy firm at the cost of Karnataka’s taxpayers.” On Thursday, chairman of Professionals’ Congress Praveen Chakravarty criticised the Siddaramaiah government for hiring BCG. “If one wins elections by outsourcing core political functions to external fee charging transactional consultants, then one also governs by outsourcing core policy functions to similar consultants!,” he posted on ‘X’.

But on Friday, Chakravarty retracted his statement and tendered an apology. “I posted my opinion on the broader culture of outsourcing core political & policy functions to outside consultants with no ‘skin in the game’. It’s an issue that is debated widely in research circles & my comment was purely academic. In retrospect, I should have been much more sensitive about the context. It was absolutely not intended as a personal criticism of any, let alone my own party’s. I have spoken with & expressed my apologies for causing inadvertent harm to the leadership in Karnataka,” he said.

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