The day was not far off when the Congress would occupy the treasury benches in the Karnataka Assembly, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said as he asserted that the party would come back to power after the next assembly polls in 2023.
The former Chief Minister targeted the ruling BJP on various fronts, especially over its handling of the state’s finances.
Speaking during the discussion on the budget, he questioned whether anyone could call it a good one, prompting Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to intervene and ask “what would you have done if you were in my position.”? To this, Siddaramaiah retorted that if he were given the opportunity, he would have said what has to be done.
“…You give up the seat for me, I will say (what should have been done). “People will certainly give us (the position) next time… they will change (the party in power). The day is not far off when we will come and occupy your seat We will come back (to power),” he asserted.
The LoP also said that looking at the way the government was functioning, people would not sit quiet during the next assembly election.
Replying to Siddaramaiah, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai tried to justify the presentation of the deficit budget by stating that it was unprecedented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed out that when Siddaramaiah was Chief Minister in the past, revenue surplus had dwindled despite there being no pandemic or economic slowdown and said the people, looking at their performance, had made them sit in the opposition. “How can you come back when your performance is so dismal? it is impossible,” Bommai added.
Siddaramaiah said probably never in the history of Karnataka had such an ”anti-development” budget been presented. A revenue deficit budget had never been presented since 2004-05 till date in the state after the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, he said. “This is for the first time that a deficit budget has been presented,” he said.
Noting that Karnataka would have borrow a loan to set right the revenue deficit, Siddaramaiah, who has held the finance portfolio in the past, said the loan is usually taken for asset creation. He also expressed deep concern over raising committed expenditure and urged the government to take corrective measures immediately. Targeting the government for its ”inability” to get the state’s share of funds and grants from the centre, he asked, “why did you fail to take it or ask the PM for it? Despite having 25 BJP MPs from Karnataka, the Finance Minister also represents the state…are you scared? I fail to understand. It is our right.” PTI