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CM Siddaramaiah on testing waters

April 12, 2018

Karnataka Government under SiddaramaiahSiddaramaiah is going to become the first Karnataka Chief Minister to complete the full 5 years term since S M Krishna, to complete the full-term as the state CM. In 2013 state legislative assembly, Siddaramaiah led Congress won the public mandate with a comprehensive 122 seats, and formed the government in the state. Since then, the Siddaramaiah led Congress government in Karnataka, has seen many ups and downs during its tenure. Karnataka Chief Minister ushered in several reforms and programmes for the development of the state and welfare of the public. While some programmes received thumbs-up from several sections of the society, others received negative reviews. Karnataka elections are fast approaching and Siddaramaiah has been in full throttle mode to overcome anti-incumbency and an aggressive BJP election campaign, with several high-profile BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have pointed fingers at Siddaramaiah government. Several Karnataka opinion polls have indicated that it will be difficult for the Congress party and Siddaramaiah to repeat the performance of 2013 state assembly elections. According to TV9-CVoter pre-poll survey, Congress will manage to cross 100 marks with 102 seats, with BJP winning 96 seats, while JD(S) will manage to win 15 seats. While Creative Center for Political and Social Studies pre-poll survey shows that Congress party will manage to achieve the majority by winning 113 seats, with BJP claiming 85 seats, while JD(S) will win 25 seats, and Others winning the remaining one seat. Siddaramaiah remains confident that people of Karnataka would choose the development politics of Congress party over the divisive politics of BJP. In the last 4 and a half years Siddaramaiah government has taken some substantive measure, while some had a positive impact, some have not been as fruitful. Some of the positives of the Siddaramaiah government such as subsidised food, FDI inflow, a surge in Kannadiga pride, etc, have helped in further development of the state. Following are some measures taken by the government which has benefited the state. Also, there have been issues that have clogged the development of Karnataka in certain aspects.


Indira Canteens and other welfare schemes Indira Canteen has been the most successful programme launched by the Karnataka government, it provides subsidised food through its canteen across the state for the poor and under-privileged sections of the society. While schemes like Anna Bhagya (free rice) and Ksheera Bhagya (free milk), has reaped benefits for the incumbent Congress government, as the state government looks to improve the food security of the state. Kannadiga Pride Kannadiga Pride has become one the major issues in the upcoming elections, as Siddaramaiah government has since the last couple of years tried to obstruct any imposition of Hindi language by the Central government. Siddaramaiah led-Congress government has made Kannada mandatory in schools, while they have been vehemently demanding that “Kannadiga Flag” should be recognised as the State flag, although, Siddaramaiah has been clear about the status of the National flag, as the State flag won’t undermine the importance of National flag. FDI Influx The development in Karnataka has attracted several foreign investments, as the state accounted for 19% of India’s all foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow during the first two quarters of financial year 2017-18. On the other hand, Gujarat could only attract 1.65%, as Siddaramaiah pushes the “Karnataka Model of Development” against the “Gujarat Model of Development”, a move that can certainly benefit the CM in the upcoming elections.


Law & Order The deteriorating situation of law and order in Karnataka has become a bane for the Siddaramaiah government. The government has been accused by the opposition parties as well media, for its negligence in the murder of Rationalist MM Kalburgi in 2015, while Gauri Lankesh, a journalist and an activist was shot dead right in front of her house. In March this year, Karnataka Lokayukta P Vishwanatha Shetty was vehemently stabbed several times inside his office. Such high-profile cases during the Siddaramaiah tenure, has dented the image of law and order in Karnataka. Farmers’ Crisis Before the 2013 Karnataka Assembly elections, Siddaramaiah and Congress party were adamant to address to issue of farmer’s loan debt. However, when the party came into power after a comprehensive mandate, they announced a Rs. 8,165 crore loan waiver for the distressed debt-ridden farmers. But even, after the announcement the farmers didn’t receive the waiver, thus, entailing the lack of proper implementation of policy measures. To add to the misery of Siddaramaiah government, according to a report published by the Press Trust of India, more than 3500 farmers committed suicide from April 2013 to November 2017. Lingayats issue Lingayats is one of the major community in the state of Karnataka and holds a significant share of votes, that can certainly swing the tides in favour of political parties during the elections. In the recent years, Siddaramaiah has been resolute in his efforts to give Lingayats the minority status, however, the BJP has been against it, as they see the move by Karnataka CM as a way to divide the community for the political gains. The decision of Karnataka government to accord a minority status to Lingayats has received mix reactions from the community, as some sections are in favour of the minority status, while some are against it. Eye on the Upcoming Elections With the Karnataka assembly election fast approaching, it remains to be seen whether Siddaramaiah’s tenure as the CM has been a success or a failure. Siddaramaiah will lead the Congress party to salvage some pride by regaining the state, as the recent debacle during the elections in North-east has reduced the grand-old party to 3 states and the Union territory of Puducherry. Siddaramaiah will be hoping for a positive people’s mandate in favour of the “Karnataka Model of Development” under Siddarmaiah’s leadership.

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