Newly-elected Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. The meeting came amid sign of differences between coalition partners Congress and JD(S) over tabling of a new full-fledged budget for 2018-19.
Congress has said that there is no need for a fresh budget and insisted that a supplementary budget would do. On the other hand, JD(S) asserted that a fresh budget was needed to demonstrate the direction of the new government.
The meeting comes two days after Kumaraswamy had strongly pushed for a new budget, saying he would meet Rahul Gandhi to sort out the issue soon.
Former chief minister and chairman of the Congress-JD(S) coordination committee Siddaramaiah had expressed his strong reservations over presenting a new full-fledged budget, saying there was no need for such an exercise.
Siddaramaiah, who is also the Congress Legislature Party leader, said he had already tabled the budget as chief minister a few months ago. “Budget has already been tabled. It is a full-fledged budget only. That’s why we had taken vote on accounts for four months. It will be there till July end. All the ongoing programmes and new programmes announced in the budget will continue,” he said. He advised Kumaraswamy that if he wants to carry out certain projects and launch some schemes, he can bring out a supplementary budget.
On the contrary, Kumaraswamy said that the new government has to demonstrate its objectives to the people.
“Whenever a new government comes to power, it needs to demonstrate what its goals are. We cannot limit ourselves to presenting supplementary budget because there are many challenges before the government. A supplementary budget would not suffice to incorporate them all,” he said.
Kumaraswamy reminded Siddaramaiah about his statement in the past that if a new government takes over after the election, a new budget may be presented. “Today Janata Dal (S) and Congress have formed a coalition government. Usually, when a new government comes to power, its duty is to present the best budget and send our message to people through it,” the chief minister said.
The purported difference over tabling of a new full-fledged budget comes days after the two coalition partners vied over allocation of lucrative, revenue-generating portfolios such as finance, revenue, public works and geology and mines.
Kumaraswamy retained 11 portfolios with himself, including finance. Deputy CM G Parameshwara was assigned the Home department, without the Intelligence wing.