A day after Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy presented the maiden budget of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government, discontent over many regions being ignored in it continued. Bharatiya Janata Party legislators from coastal Karnataka and former Minister and Congress MLA H.K. Patil urged the CM on Friday to announce programmes for the coast and northern parts of the State during his reply on the budget.
The BJP legislators, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Council Kota Srinivas Poojary, staged a protest wearing black bands in front of the Vidhana Soudha, accusing the government of “letting down” the coast. They alleged that while the government has offered many programmes and projects to constituencies represented by JD(S) legislators, mostly in Hassan, Mandya, Ramanagaram, and Mysuru districts, no schemes have been announced for endosulfan victims or for the welfare of the fishermen. Legislators Sunil Kumar, Vedvyas Kamat, Raghupathi Bhat, Halady Srinivas Shetty, and Rajesh Naik participated in the protest.
Former Minister H.K. Patil also continued to express his disappointment with the budget. To address regional imbalances, Mr. Patil urged the Chief Minister to announce special schemes for north Karnataka before the budget gets the approval of the legislature.
Saying that the budget has “hurt and disappointed” the people of north Karnataka, Mr. Patil, in a letter, said no programmes for the region have been announced by the coalition government. “It is the duty of the government to respect the feelings of the people of north Karnataka,” he said. Mr. Patil said that of the new taluks announced by the previous government, many were in north Karnataka. “To improve basic infrastructure in these taluks, special programmes have to be announced. People in north Karnataka had expected such special programmes [in the budget].”
Mr. Patil has also written to former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is the chairman of the coordination committee, to immediately convene a meeting to address these issues. He cited the Congress government of 1999-2004, the Congress-JD(S) coalition of 2004-2006, and the Congress government of 2013-2018 as regimes that took up schemes to address regional imbalances.
Meanwhile, sources said that Urban Development Minister U.T. Khader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan met the Chief Minister on Friday and demanded announcement of welfare schemes for minorities.
‘Will respond to charges’
Reacting to allegations of his budget being partisan to the districts of Hassan, Mandya and Ramanagaram, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday said he would respond to all charges during his reply on the budget discussion.
On Congress leader H.K. Patil’s letter to him, he said: “I have not received any letter from him. He is an experienced person. Gadag (Mr. Patil’s home district) finds a mention in the budget. More industries are going to north Karnataka. Of the seven approved, five are going there. I have not cut any announcement made in Siddaramaiah’s budget. Mr. Patil has to specifically show how it has been unfair to north Karnataka… then I will try to set it right.”
He also pointed out that Mr. Patil had taken ₹1,500 crore to Gadag district for a drinking water programme when he was Minister.
Speaking to presspersons in the Vidhana Soudha, he said what should also be noted is how much money has been given to Hassan, Mandya and Ramanagaram districts over the past 10 years. “How much have I given? Maybe ₹200 crore in all. It is not much.”