Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today called on Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his residence in Delhi amidst reports of a rift between the JD(S) and Congress over tabling of a new budget for 2018-19.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy today called on Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his residence in Delhi amidst reports of a rift between the JD(S) and Congress over tabling of a new budget for 2018-19. Although the details of the meeting were not made known to the media, reports suggest that Kumaraswamy raised the issue during his meeting and expressed his view that a full-fledged budget is needed to demonstrate the new government a direction. ANI reported that senior JD(S) leader Danish Ali and Congress leader KC Venugopal were also present when the two leaders were holding talks.
The first public disagreement between the two parties of the almost one-month-old government come to light last week when the Congress opposed CM Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, from presenting his first full budget. The Congress party is of the view that Siddaramaiah had already presented the budget in February and Kumaraswamy should present an interim budget if required.
Siddaramaiah who is the Congress Legislative Party leader and also the chief of the Coordination Committee of the two ruling parties argued that if Kumaraswamy wants to start any new scheme, he can do this by bringing a supplementary budget. The former CM said that the budget that he had tabled a few months ago “is a full-fledged budget only”.
However, Kumaraswamy had been pushing for tabling a new budget and had said that he will meet Rahul Gandhi to sort out the issue. Today’s meeting between Rahul and Kumaraswamy took place in this context. He had told reporters that the new JD(S)-Congress coalition government has to demonstrate its objectives to the people, therefore a full-fledged budget is required.
The CM noted that whenever a new government is installed, ‘it needs to establish what its goals are’. Besides, he noted that in the run-up to the elections, the Congress and JD(S) had made several promises that need to be incorporated. “A supplementary budget would not suffice to incorporate them all,” he said.
Both the JD(S) and Congress had joined ranks together after the Karnataka Assembly was delivered with a hung verdict. Though the Congress is a bigger party than the JD(S) in terms of numbers, it is playing the role of a junior partner in the current ruling dispensation. According to reports, leaders of the two parties are not happy with the government and have expressed reservations on many occasions.