Karnataka CM dismisses reports of rift in JD(S)-Congress coalition after Siddaramaiah videos emerge, tells ThePrint govt will complete full term.
Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said he will present a supplementary budget as suggested by former chief minister Siddaramaiah next week — a move seen as a conciliatory approach amid signs of strains in the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition government.
“Siddaramaiah suggested that we have a supplementary budget, that’s when I told him that I am not going to make any major changes (in the budget),” Kumaraswamy said in an exclusive interview to ThePrint.
“I have to respect the commitment made to the farmers and waive their loans, so I will have to introduce it as a full-fledged budget,” he said.
A section of Congress leaders seemed apprehensive that Kumaraswamy’s budget would overshadow the popular welfare schemes, such as Anna Bhagya, launched by the Siddaramaiah government.
Kumaraswamy has now clarified that he has no plans to change any of the schemes. “I will not change anything, whatever popular schemes have been there…I will continue that,” he said.
He also ruled out any difference of opinion in the preparation of the budget.
“I have rather taken it as a challenging assignment because I have made over-commitment to the people of the state which I will have to fulfill,” Kumaraswamy said.
‘The video controversy created by media’
When asked about the controversy generated by two videos that had gone viral early this week, Kumaraswamy dismissed the entire “brouhaha as nothing but media creation”.
In one of the videos, former CM Siddaramaiah raises questions about Kumaraswamy’s decision to present a full-fledged budget when he had announced one this February, while the other has him suggesting that the month-old JD(S)-Congress government may not last beyond the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Kumaraswamy exuded confidence that the coalition government will not only complete its full term but the JD(S)-Congress alliance will win 20 to 25 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka next year.
“100 per cent, we will complete five years. I am confident,” he said.
“As in any coalition government, there will always be some difference of opinion among MLAs. But some people are trying to misconstrue that it as a rift between parties. Any issue can be amicably settled,” the chief minister said.
Kumaraswamy also claimed that state Congress president G. Parameshwara has asked Congress ministers to stay united and not fall prey to unnecessary media reports.
“In the same way, my father Deve Gowdaji also met all our legislators and ensured their commitment to the government. So where is the split,” he asked.
A crucial coordination committee meeting is scheduled for Saturday, where a common minimum programme of both parties will be laid out.
Admitting that the state is facing a cash crunch, Kumaraswamy said he will tackle the situation.
“There are two big challenges before me. The first one is Rs 32,000 crore farm loan waiver and the second one is the payment of salaries as recommended by the 6th pay commission (Rs 17,000 crore),” he said.
“I have been consulting my financial advisers and have come up with a formula of how to manage the state exchequer. I will ensure that the waiver is implemented without affecting the other schemes,” he added.
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