‘Participate in a public debate with me…’ Siddaramaiah challenges Amit Shah

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BENGALURU: Amid outrage by the Karnataka government against the Centre, over ‘injustice’ to the state, Chief Minister Siddaramiah on Sunday challenged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to participate in a public debate with him that the state’s treasury is not empty because of the guarantee schemes.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah criticized Home Minister Amit Shah, accusing him of displaying animosity with the state government by claiming ‘the treasury is empty due to guarantee schemes.’

Siddaramaiah asserted that if Amit Shah genuinely holds this view, he should engage in a public debate with him.

“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. This is also a challenge to Amit Shah,” he said.

The Chief Minister also criticized the BJP for opposing guarantee schemes in Karnataka while promising to implement similar programs in the states they govern.

He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of appropriating both the name and substance of “Karnataka’s guarantee schemes and branding them as his party’s programmes”.

CM Siddaramaiah said that Amit Shah, who participated in several programmes in the state on Sunday, came to Karnataka with empty hands.

“Amit Shah has come to Karnataka with empty hands. He hasn’t called for a single meeting so far to provide relief funds for the drought. Farmers are suffering here; there is no water,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

Siddaramaiah had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on December 19 last year and sought Rs 18,177.44 crores as assistance from the Central government for undertaking drought relief work in the State.

Questioning Amit Shah on the social media platform X, the Chief Minister reminded him that four months have elapsed since Karnataka submitted its report to the Centre on the drought situation in the State and even the Central Study Team has visited and submitted its report.

As per the rules, the Union Home Minister has to chair a high-level meeting to examine the Central Study Team’s report and grant approval for releasing drought relief to the State.

Earlier today, Amit Shah arrived in Karnataka’s Mysore and visited Suttur Math.

The Union Minister felicitated sculptor Arun Yogiraj at the Suttur Jatra Mahotsav programme for creating the Rama Lalla idol placed in the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22.

Siddaramaiah argued that the root of the BJP’s opposition lies in their historical resistance to programmes aimed at benefiting the poor. He cited instances where the central government opposed welfare programs initiated during his first term as Chief Minister.

Siddaramaiah concluded by emphasizing his commitment to alleviating the hardships of the poor and criticized those who oppose guarantee schemes, stating that their actions are not in line with true devotion to God. He invoked the names of deities like Rama and Chamundeshwari, suggesting that those who oppose programs for the welfare of the poor cannot expect divine blessings.

“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 Mother Chamundeshwari,” he said. (ANI)

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