Cabinet meeting on 2 June to decide fate of Congress’ 5 guarantees; Karnataka officials give options

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has called a Cabinet meeting on 2 June, where ministers are expected to discuss and decided on the guarantees.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 31, 2023 | 10:42 PM Updated May 31, 2023 | 10:43 PM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah chaired the Cabinet meeting at Vidhana Soudha on 10 August. (Supplied)

The financial challenges for the Congress in implementing its five poll guarantees are weighing down heavily on the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka.

In the first full Karnataka Cabinet meeting after the elections scheduled to take place on Friday, 2 June, the newly elected Congress government’s Council of Ministers is set to discuss guidelines, framework, and norms for implementation of the five guarantees.

Asserting that his government would implement the five promises made ahead of the Assembly polls, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “The officials have shared their inputs on financial implications, and the Cabinet will meet on 2 June to decide on the implementation”.

The chief minister chaired a pre-Cabinet meeting of sorts with all the ministers and senior officials of the concerned departments at the Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday.

Related: Karnataka announces free bus rides for women

Final decision on 2 June

After the pre-Cabinet meeting, Siddaramaiah told reporters: “We had given five guarantees to the people. Concerned officials and finance department officials have made a presentation regarding them.”

He added: “All the ministers have seen the presentation. It has all the details — proposals and financial implications of the implementation.”

He continued: “Discussions and decisions [on the proposals and promises] will be held in the next Cabinet meeting. After that, our decision will be announced on 2 June.”

However, he assured: “The government has taken a call to implement all the five guarantees. It is a guarantee that we will implement the guarantees.”

On the very first day of taking power, Siddaramaiah held a meeting with only nine ministers in the Cabinet, and gave in-principle approval for the implementation of five poll guarantees.

Last week, the Chief Minister chaired meetings with all the concerned departments and directed them to submit a detailed report on the financial implications.

The new government is under severe pressure from Opposition parties and various sections of society to fulfil its five poll guarantees.

Asked whether the guarantees would be implemented at once or one after the other, Siddaramaiah said, “All those things have not been decided yet, it will be discussed and decided in the Cabinet.”

On a question about the BJP’s criticism, he said, “Let the BJP (Union government) fulfil whatever it promised before it questions us. We will implement what we promised. We did it earlier, and we will do it again.”

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‘Officials gave 4-5 options’

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said that the officials shared inputs in Wednesday’s meeting and also gave four-five options regarding the implementation of the guarantees, besides details of the financial impact.

After taking part in the Cabinet meeting, Shivakumar told reporters at the Vidhana Soudha: “We are committed to implementing the guarantees; no doubts about that. After the officials shared their opinion and inputs, some of the Cabinet ministers also shared their views. We asked officials to rework and present their proposals before the Cabinet.”

He added: “As they sought time, there is no Cabinet meeting tomorrow, it has been postponed to Friday. We will discuss and take a final decision.”

The Cabinet meeting was earlier scheduled on Thursday.

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Appealing to people to avoid any kind of gossip on this matter, the deputy chief minister said: “The state government is aware of the promises made by the Congress ahead of elections, and also the financial implications. We are discussing everything.”

He told reporters: “You (media) may be in a hurry, but we are not. Our speed is towards implementing systematically. The state has to be saved and we have to keep up our promise.”

On whether the government would put any conditions on the guarantees, he said, “Whether there are conditions or not is not important. There should be a system for everything. Like in the case of free bus service for women:  Who, where, within Karnataka or outside. There should be some calculations.”

Earlier in the day, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj and Minister Priyank Kharge said criteria and frameworks were being decided for the implementation of the guarantees.

“The criterion has to be fixed to implement the guarantees, as taxpayers’ money is involved,” he said.