Bengaluru, August 3: For the first time since assuming charge as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi. In a statement, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) claimed that the meeting was cordial. Siddaramaiah presented Modi a garland and artefact made of sandalwood, as well as a traditional Mysuru 'peta' (headgear).
The meeting came a day after the Chief Minister criticised Modi over his remarks on free guarantee schemes implemented by the ruling Congress-led government in Karnataka. Modi had stated that the funds are not available to the Karnataka government for development activities in the backdrop of implementation of guarantee schemes announced.
"The state treasury is going to be empty due to free schemes," he said. In response, Siddaramaiah said that the people of Karnataka wary of the anti-people governance of the double-engine governments have given a mandate to the Congress' guarantee schemes and rejected the BJP.
"We have the commitment to fulfil the promises and try our best in this direction. The entire country which is reeling under inflation, unemployment needs the model of Karnataka to save common people from economic crisis and ensure social security," he posted on social media.
"Congratulations to PM Modi for expressing his concern on state finances by implementing free schemes. PM Modi, my request is that it needs to be clarified. Is this your personal opinion? Or is this opinion as PM Modi? Or whether it is the opinion of the party?
"If you are opposed to guarantee schemes you have got to clarify your stand as well as the stand of your party. You need to give directions for Karnataka BJP leaders to oppose the free schemes of our government publicly. We are ready to face the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on guarantee free schemes, if you are ready for the challenge you make an announcement in this regard," he added.
During his Delhi visit, Siddaramaiah will also meet Union Ministers Nirmala Sitaraman, Rajnath Singh and Union Road Nitin Gadkari. According to sources, the Chief Minister is likely to request Modi for supply of rice by central agencies for Anna Bhagya, the party's flagship free rice scheme under which the Karnataka government is planning to provide 10 kg of rice for all members of BPL families. He is also likely to seek an increase of funds from the central government and additional funds for the irrigation projects, the Jal Jeevan Mission, MGNREGA.
The Chief Minister is also expected to seek Rs 5,495 crore interim relief for the state as per the recommendation of 15th Financial Commission and also discuss about the state not getting its judicious share in the GST. He will further discuss the major road projects in the state and demand for additional grants during his meeting, the sources added.