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Siddaramaiah dares PM Modi to prove charges against his government

IANS | Bengaluru |

A miffed Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove the charges of corruption and misgovernance he made against the state government on Sunday.

“Being the PM of the country, your words should carry credibility. I request you to substantiate with facts your allegations that corruption and misgovernance are rampant (in my state),” Siddaramaiah told reporters, a day after Modi launched an all-out attack against the ruling Congress in the poll-bound southern state.

Questioning Modi’s moral right to call the state government “corrupt”, Siddaramaiah said it is the Prime Minister who should explain why he did not have a Lokayukta (anti-graft ombudsman) for nine years when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“By not having the Lokayukta institution for nine years, Modi had facilitated corruption,” Siddaramaiah said.

Addressing a party rally on Sunday, Modi said the southern state needs to be made “Congress-free” in order to end corruption.

“India does not need Congress culture anymore as it has ruined the nation. If corruption has to end, the state has to be made Congress-free,” he had said.

Claiming that Karnataka was number one in IT & BT (biotech) in the country, the Chief Minister said the state was also top in silk production.

“Karnataka receives the maximum investments among all states as per the data from the central government,” Siddaramaiah said.

The state was also the first to have an electric vehicle policy and launch a universal health scheme, he said.

“The central government has given many awards for the state’s policies and their implementation, terming Karnataka the most performing state,” claimed the Chief Minister.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s criticism that the state’s law and order system was deteriorating citing the deaths of BJP workers in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah said the crime rate in BJP-ruled states was much higher.

The National Crime Records Bureau of the Union Home Ministry specifies that crime rate in BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is much higher than in Karnataka, he said.

“The BJP National President (Amit Shah) has a murder case against him in Gujarat. How can such a party call the Congress corrupt?” questioned Siddaramaiah.

He also clarified that the state had received only Rs 84,500 crore from the Centre in the past three years and not Rs 2 lakh crore as the Prime Minister had claimed.

“As per the 14th Finance Commission, the state was to get Rs 95,200 crore in the last three years, whereas it got Rs 84,500 crore. In fact, we got over Rs 10,000 crore less and not more,” he asserted.

Whatever the central government gives to the states is their rightful share in a federal structure, the Congress leader added.

“BJP is misleading the people with wrong information and by suppressing the mandate of the Constitution,” he alleged.

To Modi’s statement that the “countdown” for Congress to be evicted from the state had begun, Siddaramaiah hit back saying, “The real countdown has started for BJP and Modi, as it is evident from the victory of Congress in the recent Rajasthan by-elections.”

On the ongoing issue of Mahadayi water dispute with neighbouring Goa, Siddaramaiah said he has written to the Prime Minister to discuss the issue and would meet him with an all-party delegation if Modi agrees to meet.