Karnataka Congress government’s protest in Delhi alleging “injustice” to the State by the Centre in tax devolution and grants-in-aid, was not a show of strength, but the voice of the people of the State, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said on Wednesday.
Shivakumar, who is also the state Congress president, said that his party will fight it out, and will take the issue to the streets of Karnataka, if things continue in the same way, and the central government doesn’t address the concerns.
Congress legislators and MPs from Karnataka, including Ministers from Siddaramaiah-led government, on Wednesday staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, demanding that the union government set right the losses allegedly incurred by the State to the tune of ₹1,87,000 crore, during five years under the 15th finance commission.
“It is not a show of strength. You see, the people of Karnataka don’t want to show our strength. It is the voice of Karnataka, where injustice has been done. 7 crore people, they are giving tax every day, we are getting only 13 per cent, we want our share,” Shivakumar said to a question whether the protest was a show of strength.
Speaking to PTI Videos in the national capital, he said: “not only in GST, in every thing the state’s share is not upto the right.” On several projects that were announced nationally including Upper Bhadra allegedly not getting funds from the Centre, Shivakumar said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is also a Rajya Sabha from the state, has to answer to this.
“Nothing (is given)…the Finance Commission had said that ₹6,000 crore has to be given (for the development of water bodies and peripheral ring road in Bengaluru), that also has not been given, what was Nirmala Sitharaman doing?” he asked. Asked about the Finance Minister’s statement in Parliament about Karnataka government spending money on guarantees and are now left with no funds to run the administration, he said, “guarantees and this issue is different, let them (Centre) give our money, we will do whatever we want as per the wishes of the people of Karnataka.”
When questioned as to what will be the next course of action if things continue the same way, Shivakumar said, “we will fight it out, we will take it to the streets of Karnataka.” “Let them (BJP) say whatever they want, we want to fight for justice, we want our share, we want people of Karnataka’s stomachs to be filled,” he said, rejecting BJP’s allegations that the protest was a political ploy by Congress, with Parliament elections round the corner.
On whether Karnataka Congress was trying to set a new narrative against the BJP, the DCM said, “it is the fact….we are trying to inform the people, we want to educate the people, and get them justice.” Responding to a question on “separate nation” remarks by his brother and Congress MP from Bangalore Rural D K Suresh, which had led to a “controversy”, Shivakumar said, “there is no controversy, it is a fact. He said that people are thinking we are being sidelined, that’s all.”
Suresh last week claimed that taxes collected from the south were being distributed to north India and that the former were not getting their due share, and that the southern states will be compelled to demand for a separate nation if the ‘injustice’ was not rectified.