Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said the Congress government has fulfilled all pre-election assurances despite multiple criticisms from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the party’s first anniversary. The party is also positive about winning 15 to 20 seats in the State.

The party did not hold any special celebration to abide by the Election Moral Code of Conduct (MCC). The CM addressed the Media at Bengaluru’s Press Club and claimed that the Congress government spent about ₹30,000 crore on welfare schemes after being elected in May 2023. Addressing the BJP’s allegations that the treasury was empty, he said, “In the Budget, we had set aside ₹54,374 crore for development works other than guarantees. We spent ₹56,274 crore, which is more than the allocated Budget,” he claimed.

While campaigning for the State Assembly elections in Karnataka, the Congress party had mentioned five guarantees. Of the money spent on the schemes, ₹5,754.6 crore was disbursed to the 4.10 crore beneficiaries of Anna Bhagya, with ₹7,436 crore spent on providing free electricity of up to 200 units to 1.60 crore people under Griha Jyoti Yojana. “We spent around ₹4,857.95 crore for 201 crore women to travel for free under Shakti Yojana. We even spent ₹20,293 crore under the Griha Lakshmi Yojana and reached around 1.20 crore housewives. There were 29,587 beneficiaries under the Youth Fund.” The State government also scrapped the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) earlier this month to replace it with the State Education Policy.

MP Randeep Singh Surjewala, the AICC General Secretary in charge of Karnataka, said, “Our government not only works on roads, bridges and infrastructure but also on uplifting the poor, women, farmers, working class, bringing them to the mainstream and ensuring their overall development. Our guarantee schemes are a model of holistic development and progress for the State, the country and the world.”

‘Zero marks’

However, the Opposition BJP hit out at the Congress. “Guarantees are not achievements. Developmental activities are. On the grounds of developments or achievements, Siddaramaiah gets zero marks,” said Prakash, a BJP spokesperson. 

The CM dismissed PM Modi’s claims of replacing reservations for the backward castes with those for Muslims. “We have given reservation for works up to one crore to scheduled caste/class contractors for social welfare. Our government implemented the SCSP/TSP Act. Let Modi stop lying and answer why the BJP-ruled governments have not implemented this Act,” he said. He also said that according to the Chinnappa Reddy Commission report, Muslim reservation has been in place in the State for 30 years. “The Bommai government submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court and has agreed to not cancel Muslim reservation. We have not taken away anyone’s reservation.”

Commenting on the State government’s performance political analyst Sandeep Shastri said, “A plus point was the immediate action to implement its five guarantees. But their effectiveness would be determined after the Lok Sabha elections. The government could have handled the law and order situation better.” 

Another political observer Harish Ramaswamy said, “The party deserves five out of 10 for performance for implementation of guarantees. They could have done much better by considering the financial aspect as well. Regarding the impact on the economy - whether there is growth or more employment, they get two on 10. There is no proper planning.” He added that government has sustained despite differences in opinion between the CM and the deputy CM.

(With inputs from BL Intern Nivasini Azagappan)