As Congress leader Siddaramaiah took charge as the new Karnataka chief minister after a grand swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru, his freshly-formed cabinet gave “in-principal” approval to implement five guarantees of the grand old party. Initial estimates indicate that the promises would cost the exchequer Rs 50,000 crore annually.
Siddaramaiah’s first cabinet meeting was held immediately after he took oath as chief minister, along with DK Shivakumar as deputy chief minister and eight MLAs as ministers.
"It's agreed upon. We will not go back (on the promises)," CM Siddaramaiah said at a press conference, adding that the pre-poll assurances would "most likely" be implemented after the next cabinet meeting.
5 Guarantees of Congress in Karnataka
The party's five poll guarantees include up to 200 units of free power to all households under the Gruha Jyoti scheme, Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family under Gruha Lakshmi scheme and 10 kilograms of rice free to every member of a BPL household under Anna Bhagya.
It also includes Rs 3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth, Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders (in the age group of 18-25) for two years under Yuva Nidhi scheme and free travel for women in public transport buses under the Shakti scheme.
Notably, the guarantees had found resonance with the people during the campaigning, particularly women, and played a key role in the stupendous victory of the Congress in the Assembly polls, according to political observers.
Congress campaigners including Rahul Gandhi repeatedly assured the voters that these five guarantees would be approved in the first Cabinet meeting on the first day of coming to power.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Bommai flayed the grand old party saying the people of Karnataka had high expectations from the new government but they were disappointed.
He alleged that these have turned out to be mere promises of which Congress did not study the beneficiaries, estimated expenditure, or the conditions. They claimed they did not even say when to start these guarantees.
"The government says it will be implemented in the next cabinet meeting. We don’t know when it will be implemented, whether or not, in the next cabinet meeting. The real colours of this government will be known only after the orders are passed," Bommai hit out at the Siddaramaiah government.