CM Siddaramaiah challenges Union HM Amit Shah to a debate on Guarantees

Siddaramaiah also challenged Shah to participate in the public debate over the Congress guarantees and their financial implications.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Feb 11, 2024 | 6:23 PMUpdatedFeb 11, 2024 | 6:37 PM

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Slamming Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is visiting Karnataka despite not responding on drought relief funds for Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Sunday, 11 February, that he “turned up empty-handed”.

“Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah has turned up empty-handed to Karnataka. He does not have the moral right to talk about the poor and farmers,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.

“Even after five months, Amit Shah, who heads the high-level committee, has not chaired a meeting to discuss the drought in Karnataka. He does not have any moral right to speak about the nation,” he said.

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CM slams Deve Gowda

Noting that the farmers were facing difficulties, the chief minister said: “Despite requests to increase the MGNREGA working days from 100 to 150 days because of drought, which is mandatory, the Union government has not yet responded.”

On JD(S) supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda backing Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s statements in reply to the allegations of fiscal injustice to southern states, he said: “Now, they are alliance partners. Once, Deve Gowda had said that he would wish to be born a Muslim in his next birth. Now, what will he say?”

He added: “He is a former prime minister; he should not make such statements. He should not agree to all the injustices meted out by the BJP only because they are in alliance with them.”

On Amit Shah beginning the Lok Sabha poll preparations in the state from Mysuru, he said: “We will win both Chamarajanagar and Mysuru seats.”

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Challenges Amit Shah for public debate

Siddaramaiah also challenged Shah to participate in the public debate over the guarantees of the Congress government and their financial implications.

In a press statement, Siddaramaiah said: “If there are any objections to the guarantee schemes, BJP leaders should clearly state their opposition immediately and, similarly, announce in the states governed by the BJP that all current guarantee schemes will be discontinued.”

“Why, instead, are the BJP leaders trying to destabilise the guarantee schemes in Karnataka? Do they harbour hatred for the people of Karnataka?” asked Siddaramaiah.

He further said: “Now, Home Minister Amit Shah, who has arrived in Karnataka, has vented his envy towards our government by saying ‘the treasury is empty because of the guarantee schemes’.”

“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; instead, there is an unfair distribution of taxes from the Centre to the state,” challenged the chief minister.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Siddaramaiah pointed out: “When talking about Karnataka, the same BJP leaders who oppose the guarantee schemes in our state are promising to implement the same guarantee schemes in the states they govern.”

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who opposed our guarantee schemes, has now stolen not only our guarantee schemes but also the name ‘guarantee’ and is advertising under the same name. This shows the anti-poor stance and intellectual bankruptcy of that party,” chided Siddaramaiah.

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Slams BJP for being anti-poor

Siddaramaiah said that the opposition of the BJP was not to the guarantees of the Congress but to its beneficiaries.

He continued: “From PM Narendra Modi to Amit Shah and local BJP leaders, their real opposition is not to the guarantee schemes but to the beneficiaries of these schemes, the poor. There is a history of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar opposing any programs intended for the poor.”

He added: “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 programs including land reforms and reservations. The poor should give a fitting reply to this.”

He further added: “During my first term as chief minister, BJP leaders had shown their intolerance and jealousy towards the welfare programs for the poor like Anna Bhagya, Ksheera Bhagya, and Indira Canteen that I had introduced.”

“The Union government, which had refused to provide the rice required for the Anna Bhagya scheme, is now selling the same rice under the brand Bharat. The Central government, which had refused to provide rice at ₹33 per kilo when we asked, is now selling it at ₹29 per kilo. In summary, the BJP has intolerance towards the poor, farmers, women, and workers of Karnataka,” he said.

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Slams Amit Shah

Hitting out at Union home minister, Siddaramaiah said: “Home Minister Amit Shah, who speaks against our guarantee schemes, shows disdain for Kannadigas. Opposition to the Kannada flag, attempts at Hindi imposition, and the conspiracy to favour Amul over Nandini are all achievements of Amit Shah.”

He added: “If the Union government has to provide disaster relief, a high-level committee meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah has to decide. Amit Shah, who is antagonistic towards Kannadigas, does not even call for such a meeting. Such people come to our state and lecture us.”

He added: “Reducing the hardships of the poor and wiping their tears is the true devotion to God, as I understand. No matter how many times you chant the name of Rama while causing harm to the poor, it is futile.”

“What is the use of offering Naivedya to God without providing food to the poor? What is the benefit of building temples for God without providing homes to the poor? Those who oppose the guarantee schemes cannot have the mercy of any Rama. They cannot have the blessings of Goddess Chamundeshwari,” concluded Siddaramaiah.