Karnataka: Siddaramaiah, Amit Shah spar over non-release of central funds

Siddaramaiah accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of betraying and doing injustice to the people of the state.

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday sparred over alleged non-release of drought relief funds by the Centre to the State.

Siddaramaiah accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of betraying and doing injustice to the people of the state, while Shah alleged a delay on the part of the Congress government in sending the proposal seeking relief.

“The (Congress) government that is in power here is not working in the interests of Karnataka and its development. The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister here…one is busy trying to save his chair and the other is busy trying to snatch the chair. No one has the people of Karnataka in their mind,” Shah said.

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Addressing party workers and leaders in Bengaluru, he said: “There is drought in Karnataka, they (state government) were late by three months in sending a proposal to the Central government, and today the application for drought relief from the Centre is with the Election Commission. They (Congress government) are doing politics over it.”

Karnataka has declared 223 out of 240 taluks as drought-hit; 196 of them were categorised as severely drought-affected.

Earlier in the day, in Mysuru, Siddaramaiah claimed that Shah has no moral right to seek votes from the electorate of Karnataka, as he accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of betraying and doing injustice to the people of the State over the issue of delay in release of drought relief funds in particular.

“Let Amit Shah come or Narendra Modi (PM) come or J P Nadda (BJP President) come. Let any one come. Amit Shah is the head of the high-power committee, has he given drought relief? What moral right does he have to ask for votes from the people of Karnataka?” Siddaramaiah asked while talking to reporters.

It’s been five months since his government first approached the Centre seeking drought relief but not even a rupee has been given to the state, the Chief Minister said. Three memorandums have been given since October; also the central team (inter-ministerial central team -IMCT) had come for inspection and they had submitted their report to the Union government.

“I had personally met PM Narendra Modi on December 19, Amit Shah on December 20, he had said he will call a meeting and decide on December 23 itself. How many days have passed since then? Did they give? It has been five months, till now they have not given drought relief. Is Amit Shah giving the money from his house? Is it a ‘Bhikshe’ (alms)? It’s our money, our tax money,” the Chief Minister added.

Congress has been using delay in drought relief as one of the major issues in its Lok Sabha poll campaign, and clearance of central projects along with alleged injustice to the state in tax devolution, and grant in aid.

Reacting to Shah’s remarks, later in the evening, CM in a post on ‘X’ said, “Dear Home Minister Amit Shah, it seems you have lied again by saying Karnataka has delayed the submission of the drought memorandum.”

Asking Shah to understand the chronology, he said, the state assessed the drought twice, and on September 23, submitted the first Memorandum to the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Home Affairs. Following this, from October 4 to 9, the IMCT team visited Karnataka to assess the ground situation.

On November 20, the Agriculture Ministry sent the proposal of Karnataka, with the recommendation of the subcommittee of the National Executive Committee, for placing it before the High-Level Committee, which the Home Minister chairs, the CM said, and pointed out his meeting with PM and Shah in December.

“So, from November 2023 till now, you and your Ministry have been sleeping over the matter, while our 35 lakh farmers, having suffered from crop and income losses, are waiting for input subsidies of over Rs 4663 crores,” he said. “When these are the facts, it is really surprising that you should so blatantly lie to the people of Karnataka.”

Meanwhile, questioning as to what Congress did for Karnataka during ten years of UPA rule. Shah in his address said, “They should give an account of it or not? I have come with an account, during 10 years of UPA rule Manmohan Singh government gave Karnataka only one lakh forty two thousand crore rupees, while Narendra Modi gave four lakh ninety one thousand crore rupees, three times more,”

“Other than this, roads worth twenty five thousand crore rupees, railway projects worth seventy five thousand crore rupees, and eleven thousand crore rupees were put in airways,” he said, adding that Modi did the development of Bengaluru, and there are over three-and-half crore beneficiaries of various central schemes in Karnataka.

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