Just over a month since the new Congress-JD(S) government came into power in Karnataka, an open rift appears to have broken out between the two allies and specifically, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and his predecessor Siddaramaiah, over the annual Budget for the state.
The contention is that the new Chief Minister appears to want to table a full new budget that would supersede the one tabled by the then Siddaramaiah-led government in February this year. However, as he's in an alliance with Siddaramaiah's party, the mere fact that he holds the Finance portfolio may not mean that he can pull it off politically.
Here's how Kumaraswamy tried to reason for a new budget:
"Whatever the reality is, there are talks about whether or not a new budget should be presented. When the budget was presented in February in the last term, around 100 MLAs had lost the elections and they have been replaced with newly-elected MLAs. They (the new ones) are not aware of what happened before. We don't know what aspirations the new MLAs have. If we continue on what was agreed upon by MLAs of the previous term, then it will be a breach of privilege of the new MLAs. What will I do if someone moves breach of privilege motion against me?"
Siddaramaiah, whose primary concern appears to be the schemes of his erstwhile government, has countered Kumaraswamy by appearing to unceremoniously overrule him and by offering a suggestion:
"All schemes announced by our government and all new schemes in the budget will be continued. If Kumaraswamy wants to add new schemes, let him do it through a supplementary budget.
On being asked specifically if he thinks there's no need for a fresh budget, Siddaramaiah said:
"Well, that's my opinion. As a Finance Minister you can do it through a supplementary budget. If anything was missed out during the earlier budget, it can be added."
The difference of opinion places the alliance in a tricky spot as while Kumaraswamy is CM and Finance Minister, the Congress is the larger partner by a significant margin.
Watch what the former and current Chief Ministers of Karnataka had to say in the video above. (Refresh if it doesn't play at first)
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