Asserting that he could prove that the state’s treasury is not empty because of the guarantee schemes, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday challenged Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is in the state, to participate in a public debate with him.
Shah arrived in Mysuru this morning and visited the Chamundeshwari temple in the Chamundi hills and attended a fair before participating in meetings with state BJP leaders to discuss preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Countering Shah’s alleged claims that the state government’s treasury is empty because of the guarantee schemes, Siddaramaiah said, “If this is Amit Shah’s firm opinion, he should participate in a public debate with me. I can prove that our treasury is not empty because of the guarantee schemes, and instead, there is an unfair distribution of taxes from the Centre to the state. This is also a challenge to Amit Shah.”
Accusing BJP leaders of trying to “destabilise” the guarantee schemes of his government, the chief minister questioned if they harboured hatred for the people of Karnataka and claimed that those opposing them will not get the blessings of Goddess Chamundeshwari and will not have the mercy of Lord Ram.
“If there are any objections to the guarantee schemes, BJP leaders should clearly state their opposition immediately, and announce that all guarantee schemes will be discontinued in the states governed by the BJP. Why are BJP leaders trying to destabilise guarantee schemes in Karnataka? Do they harbor hatred for the people of Karnataka,” Siddaramaiah asked.
The chief minister also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “stealing” the state’s guarantee schemes, including the word ‘guarantee’ and “advertising” it under the same name, despite allegedly opposing them.
In a statement released by his office, he called out the hypocrisy of BJP leaders opposing guarantee schemes in Karnataka on one hand, and promising to implement similar ones in states they govern on the other. “This shows the anti-poor stance and intellectual bankruptcy of that party (BJP),” he said.
Claiming that the BJP leaders’ real opposition is not the guarantee schemes, but the beneficiaries of these schemes – the poor – Siddaramaiah alleged that there is a history of BJP and the Sangh Parivar opposing programmes intended for the needy.
“Even when the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called for ‘Garibi Hatao’ (Eradicate Poverty), the same RSS-BJP opposed it. They have always opposed social justice programmes including land reforms and reservations. The poor should give a fitting reply to this,” he said.
To buttress his claims, Siddaramaiah alleged that the Central government, which had refused to provide rice for the state’s ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme (an additional 5 kg free rice for every member of BPL household), is now selling the same under the brand ‘Bharat’.
He also claimed that during his first term as chief minister, the BJP leaders had shown their “intolerance and jealousy” towards welfare programmes introduced for the poor.
With inputs from News18