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‘Ploy to cover up setbacks’, says BJP on K’taka govt’s Delhi protest

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‘Ploy to cover up setbacks’, says BJP on K’taka govt’s Delhi protest

Bengaluru, Feb 3 (IANS) The political tussle between the ruling Congress and BJP has escalated following the announcement by Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar to stage a protest in New Delhi on February 7 against the “step-motherly” treatment of the state by the BJP-led Centre.

The BJP has said that the Congress wants to cover up the damage caused by Congress MP D.K. Suresh’s statement of “separate nation for south India” and the Hanuman flag removal row.

Karnataka BJP has dubbed the proposed protest by the Karnataka government on February 7 as a desperate measure to cover its seriousetback over the series of events in the state, including the Ram temple inauguration, sources said.

The Congress party is upset over the advantageous position the BJP has secured after the inauguration of Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. As the derogatory remarks by the CM Siddaramaiah camp ministers against Lord Ram and the temple in Ayodhya received huge flak, he was forced to wear ’tilak’ and claim that he is also a devotee.

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As the Congress government has been trying to tackle the setback suffered due to the removal of Hanuman flag in Keragodu village of Mandya district, Hindu organisations led by Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have launched a statewide Hanuman Dhawaja campaign and aim to hoist saffron flags in every home.

Sources in BJP said that the movement will help the saffron party to get inroads into south Karnataka districts, considered as heartland of the influential Vokkaliga community. As JD(S), which finds its core strength in the region is BJP’s ally, the BJP is brimming with confidence.

The Congress has tactfully planned the protest in Delhi aiming to draw attention of the people over the “poor share of funds for the state”.

DyCM Shivakumar said on Friday, “I am not going to compare Karnataka to Gujarat. We are just asking for our fair share. We thought the ‘double engine government’ may have helped Karnataka. But a detailed analysis shows that the state has lost Rs 62,000 crore in spite of the Union budget doubling in size.”

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“Karnataka has been getting a raw deal in the Union budgets. The state has lost a revenue of about Rs 62,000 crore in the last 5 years due to this. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Cabinet ministers, MLAs and MLCs will also participate in the protest to be held on February 7. We have written to the Centre about the venue for the protest.”

He has also urged the MLAs and MLCs of the Opposition parties to be part of the protest to seek justice for the state. “The size of the Union budget which was 24.5 lakh crore in 2018-19 has doubled in 2023-24 to 45 lakh crore but the state hasn’t benefited from it. Though the Budget size has doubled, grants for Karnataka have only gone up a little from Rs 46,000 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 50,000 crore in 2022-23,” he explained.

V. Sunilkumar, BJP Karnataka General Secretary, dubbed the move by the Congress government to protest in New Delhi over poor allotment to the state is ridiculous.

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“The intention is to divert the attention from the ‘dividing the nation’ statement by Congress MP D.K. Suresh. I urge the Congress government to come out with a whitepaper on the grants by the central government to Karnataka state during 2004 to 2014 UPA rule at the Centre and PM Modi-led government’s rule from 2014 to the present day,” Sunil Kumar demanded.

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