Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrives to address the media in Bengaluru on Monday
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrives to address the media in Bengaluru on Monday Photo | Shashidhar Byrappa

Karnataka CM: By raising taxes, curbing graft, we’re funding guarantees

Siddaramaiah said that by increasing taxes, taking loans as per law, and reducing corruption, his government was able to manage finances for the guarantees.

BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who completed one year in office on May 20, reiterated that his government will not discontinue the five guarantees after the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Speaking at ‘Meet the Press’ organised by the Press Club of Bengaluru, the CM said that the State Government was also taking up several development schemes. 

Siddaramaiah said that by increasing taxes, taking loans as per law, and reducing corruption, his government was able to manage finances for the guarantees. He was replying to the allegations made by several BJP leaders that the Congress government would discontinue the guarantees after the Lok Sabha elections. “The Opposition members are spreading lies. We have also not sought any financial aid for the guarantees from the Centre,” the CM added. 

On corruption, Siddaramaiah said that after his government came to power, two commissions were constituted to probe the 40% commission allegations and alleged irregularities during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I can’t say corruption has stopped. It is a disease in our society . But we have made an attempt to control corruption,” the CM said.

Siddaramaiah also slammed PM Narendra Modi for saying that the Karnataka government was removing reservations meant for the Other Backward Classes and giving them to minorities. “In Karnataka, since 1994, 4% reservation has been given to minorities, and during the Bommai government, they tried to remove it and give 2% each to Vokkaligas and Lingayats. We have not removed reservations for OBC,” Siddaramaiah elaborated.

On the caste census, the CM said that there was severe opposition from several quarters not to accept the recommendations, but still his government went ahead. “If we don’t take up the caste census, how will we know the socio-economic status of people? We got independence more than 76 years ago, and many things have changed.

We need to know. That is why we need caste census,” he said. The CM also pointed out that the Modi government has implemented a 10% reservation for the EWS category. “Which community in India is now out of reservation? There is no meaning in people protesting against reservation,” he said, adding that his government has given work to over 1 crore contractors belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

“The SCSP/TSP Act was implemented by our government. Show me which BJP-ruled government has implemented such an act,” he said. He said the caste census report would be placed before the Cabinet. On the law and order in Karnataka, he said a special court has been set up for the speedy investigation into the Neha Hiremath murder case.

“If we go through the data on the number of murders in 2021 and 2022, it has now decreased. But this is not any sort of justification. We have issued strict instructions to the authorities to prevent crime. In Anjali Ambiger’s case, officials have been suspended for dereliction of duty, and action has been taken,” he said.

No plan for cabinet reshuffle now: Siddu

CM Siddaramaiah said Congress will win 15-20 Lok Sabha seats out of 28 in Karnataka. “I cannot lie like the BJP-JDS alliance, who are stressing that they will win all 28 seats” he said. Asked about the likely reshuffle in the cabinet, Siddaramaiah said there is no such thought now. “Ours is a high command party, we will oblige them,” he said.

Speaking on his tenure as CM for the last one year, he said he is satisfied as CM, so is his party. Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accusation that Congress has formed an alliance with small parties, he said even after being in power for ten years and Modi being PM for a decade, they do not have the confidence to contest as one party.

“They too have joined hands with many regional and smaller parties, like they have done with JDS in Karnataka. If the party is so confident, they would have contested alone,” he added.

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