Bengaluru, Feb 12, 2024: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah issued a direct challenge to Union Home Minister and prominent BJP leader Amit Shah on Sunday, inviting him to engage in an open debate regarding the Congress government’s guarantee schemes, which have become a target of criticism from state BJP leaders. This challenge was strategically timed to coincide with Shah’s visit to Mysuru on the same day.
In a media release, Siddaramaiah stated, “Shah alleges that the state treasury is depleted due to these guarantee schemes. If this is Shah’s firm belief, he should join me in a public debate. I am confident I can demonstrate that our treasury isn’t drained because of these schemes; rather, it’s a result of unfair distribution of taxes from the Centre to the state. This is a direct challenge to Amit Shah.”
He further criticized BJP leaders in Karnataka who oppose the guarantee schemes while promising to implement similar schemes in the states they govern. Siddaramaiah also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of adopting their guarantee schemes and branding them under the same name, alleging it reflects the anti-poor stance and intellectual bankruptcy of the BJP.
Siddaramaiah continued, denouncing various levels of BJP leadership, from the Prime Minister to Shah to local leaders, as being anti-poor. He drew parallels to historical opposition to poverty-alleviation measures, including Indira Gandhi’s ’Garibi Hatao’ campaign, by BJP, Sangh Parivar, and RSS, claiming they’ve consistently opposed social justice initiatives such as land reforms and reservations.
He went on to criticize the central government for initially refusing to provide rice for Karnataka’s Anna Bhagya scheme but later selling the same rice under the ’Bharat’ brand at a lower price. Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of demonstrating intolerance towards the poor, farmers, women, and workers of Karnataka.
Additionally, Siddaramaiah took to social media to condemn Shah, asserting, “Home Minister @AmitShah has shown disdain towards Kannadigas by opposing our guarantee schemes. Opposing the Kannada flag, attempting to impose Hindi, and imposing Amul on Nandini were all attributed to Amit Shah.”