With just nine days left for the Janata Dal-Secular (JD(S)-Congress government's first-ever budget, the coalition partners have locked their horns in battle of sorts over whether or not HD Kumaraswamy-led Karnataka government should present a full-fledged budget on 5 July. While former chief minister Siddaramaiah is opposed to a full budget, the chief minister wants to go ahead with it.
Quoting sources, India Today reported that Congress president Rahul Gandhi, too, has backed Kumaraswamy on tabling a full state budget. Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar have supported Kumaraswamy and said it was natural for a new government to table the budget. Meanwhile, sources told CNN-News18 that Congress would want to have a say in major policy decisions in Karnataka.
Parameshwara, who is the former state Congress chief, was quoted as saying, "It is routine for any new government to present its own full-fledged budget that would reflect its promises and commitments to the electorate." On Monday, Kumaraswamy said an attempt was being made to create confusion about presentation of the full budget. "Talks are going on about whether budget has to be presented or not... I don't know, because, last time when budget was presented in February about hundred legislators who were there then have lost (election), and about a hundred new people have come (as MLAs)," he said.
Addressing a meeting of representatives of cooperative banks, Kumaraswamy said: "They (new MLAs) don't know (about old budget). If I continue with the vote on account that was approved by the then MLAs, who have now lost, we will have to see whether it will lead to breach of privilege of new MLAs."
"If someone brings in a privilege motion, what should I do? There are issues," he said. Kumaraswamy also holds the finance portfolio.
Recently Siddaramaiah, also the chairman of the Congress-JD(S) coordination committee, had openly suggested that there was no need for a fresh budget and insisted that a supplementary budget would do. On Sunday, a video clip purportedly showing Siddaramaiah, who held the finance portfolio in the previous government, expressing his displeasure over presentation of fresh budget to few Congress MLAs had gone viral.
"...if a single party had come to power, then they can go ahead and table a new budget and we cannot have any objection. But he (Mr. Kumaraswamy) became CM with our support. The Congress has already tabled the (last) budget.”
Kumaraswamy, without taking any names, said, "Some have suggested that let the budget be presented after the parliament election, so there are issues.."
Few days ago, Siddaramaiah had asserted that he had already tabled the budget as chief minister a few months ago. "Budget has already been tabled. It is a full-fledged budget only. That's why we had taken vote on accounts for four months. It will be there till July end. All the ongoing programmes and new programmes announced in the budget will continue," he said. Kumaraswamy had responded to this by saying, "Whenever a new government comes to power, it needs to demonstrate what its goals are."
The state cabinet will hold a 10-day session of the legislature from 2 July.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 09:10 AM