The budget session of the Karnataka legislature began on Monday with an address to both Houses by Governor Vajubhai Vala. The Governor mentioned farmer distress in his speech which will certainly be a main feature of the budget to be presented by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Former Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah had been seen in a video questioning the need for a new budget but the anti- coalition mutterings seem to have been silenced - at least for now and the current and former chief ministers were seen chatting with each other inside the assembly in a show of coalition unity.
The chief minister did not wish to share details of the budget that he will present on Thursday. "It is not good for government to disclose any budgetary issue... The presentation day is fixed on 5th of July... After 5th of July I will say anything..."
But it is no secret that one of the big ticket items will be the waiver of farm loans - estimated at around Rs 53,000 crore. The governor began his joint address with the issue of farmer's distress. In his speech, the governor said, "My government will take humanitarian measures to alleviate the distress of the farming community... My government desires that the farmers of Karnataka should adopt agricultural practices on the Israeli model... The days of anxiety are at an end. My government desires to become the voice of the voiceless farmer. I appeal to the farming community through this august house not to resort to suicide for any reason whatsover."
But the BJP says it isn't impressed - neither with the speech nor the show of coalition unity. Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa told NDTV: "Governor's speech is a bundle of lies and false claims made by this government. Most amazing, this government is silent on the issue of many welfare schemes issued by the central government."
"The speech indicates the chief minister has doubts about his survival as there is large scale discontent in Congress in formation of government and its support. The JDS has only a meagre number of 37 seats. I think the present government has forgotten and discredited all the previous programmes and policies of the previous Congress government. It indicates they have no respect for the party supporting the government led by the JDS."
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