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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 22, June 1, 2024

Congress Government in Karnataka: One Year in Office & Future | J P Gadkari

Saturday 1 June 2024, by J P Gadkari


May 24, 2025

This week on Monday, the 20th May 2024, the Congress Govt in Karnataka has completed one year in office. In the Assembly elections held last year, the Congress had an unprecedented victory with 136 seats in the House of 224 and that had ended the 40% commission rule of BJP in the State.

Its most important achievement was that of having fully implemented its five Guarantees in nine months of being in office which benefitted over 4.6 crores of people in the State. They were: Shakti (Free bus travel in the State for women), Anna Bhagya (Ten kgs of free rice to BPL families per month), Gruha Jyoti ( No Electricity charges for those consuming upto 200 units of power), Gruha Lakshmi ( Rs 2000/- per month to all women heads of family) and Yuva Nidhi ( Rs One lakh to unemployed youth per year).

The Congress Govt in the State not only refuted the false propaganda being made by the BJP that after Lok Sabha polls, the Govt will discontinue all these schemes, but assured that they will also implement all those Guarantees being promised if the INDIA alliance Govt comes to power at the Centre..

The fulfilment of these five guarantees have also helped the Congress party in the State to create an atmosphere of faith and confidence among the people about the party’s genuine intentions in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The election is over now for all 28 seats in two phases. Congress is contesting the election with six women and one Muslim candidates among the 28. In the last Lok Sabha elections Congress had won only one seat conceding 26 to BJP, one to JDs and one to independent. This time the party expects to win 15 to20 seats. According to all pre-election surveys party may reach this target.

After the massive victory last year, there was a tussle in the party for the post of Chief Minister due to which the formation of Govt was delayed for sometime. The tussle was between the senior leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC President D K Shiva Kumar who claimed that the party’s victory was mainly due to his efforts and therefore he has the rightful claim for the post. After protracted negotiations and reported intervention of Sonia Gandhi, the issue was resolved with Siddaramaiah heading the Govt and Shiva Kumar functioning as his deputy.

In order to avoid further delay in formation of the Govt, Siddaramaiah formed his Cabinet by filling up all 36 ministerial posts at one go, leaving many aspirants without any hope. Quite few of them were accomodated by making them Chairpersons of Boards and Corporations. Even then a number of them were left sulking.

There have been speculation that there will be reshuffle/expansion of the Ministry after the Lok Sabha elections. But Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has made it clear now that there are no such plans for the time being. With this the dissidence in the party will remain simmering.

Another more important factor is that of change in the leadership of the Govt. There were speculations in the State when the Govt was formally formed that KPCC President D K Shiva Kumar will take over as C M after two and half year term of Siddramaiah. But the latter made it clear that he will complete his full term of five years. This keeps continuously alive the rift between the two main lobbies that of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.

Apart from these political issues, the State Govt is facing other issues like severe drought that affected its 223 taluks, consisting more than three-fourths of the State due to failure of rains during last year; its conflict with the Centre over the devolution of funds and drought relief. In an unprecedented move the entire State Cabinet had to demonstrate in the National capital on the issue of devolution of funds in the month of February this year. Regarding drought relief the State Govt had asked for a sum of Rs 18,177 crores. But after delay of nearly six months and that too after approaching the Supreme Court the State got only Rs 3,000 and odd crores which is just one sixth of the amount asked for .

Besides, there is a severe strain on the State’s finances due to implementation of the five guarantees. It is estimated that approximately minimum of Rs 50,000/- crores is being spent on implementation of all five guarantees per annum.

But with all these problems being faced by the State, a stellar performance, as expected in the L S polls, will certainly give a big boost to the party in future.

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