By raising taxes and curbing corruption, we finance guarantees

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will arrive to address the media in Bengaluru on Monday

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

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

Siddaramaiah said that by raising taxes, taking loans according to law and curbing corruption, his government could manage the finances for the guarantees. He was responding to allegations by several BJP leaders that the Congress government would end the guarantees after the Lok Sabha elections. “The opposition members are spreading lies. We have also not sought any financial support for the Centre’s guarantees,” the CM added.

On corruption, Siddaramaiah said that after his government came to power, two committees were set up to probe the allegations of 40% commission and the alleged irregularities during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I cannot say that 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying that the Karnataka government was withdrawing reservations for the other backward classes and giving them to minorities. “In Karnataka, 4% reservation has been given to minorities since 1994, 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 explained.

On the caste census, the CM said there was serious opposition from various quarters to not 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 became independent over 76 years ago and many things have changed.

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

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

“If we look at the data on the number of homicides in 2021 and 2022, it has now decreased. But this is no justification whatsoever. We have given strict instructions to the authorities to prevent crime. In the case of Anjali Ambiger, 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 which is insisting that they will win all 28 seats,” he said. Asked about the likely reshuffle in the cabinet, Siddaramaiah said such a thought does not exist now. “Our party is a high command party, we will oblige them,” he said.

Speaking about his tenure as CM last year, he said he is satisfied as CM and so is his party. Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accusation that Congress has formed an alliance with small parties, he said that even after being in power for 10 years and Modi being Prime Minister for 10 years, they do not have the confidence to act as one party to fight.

“They too have joined hands with many regional and smaller parties, as they have done with JDS in Karnataka. If the party had so much confidence, they would have fought alone,” he added.