Siddaramaiah takes cue from BJP win, offers similar budget sops

BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has quietly incorporated elements which yielded positive results to archrival BJP in the recently held Uttar Pradesh elections in his state budget for 2017-18.
The budget, which he presented on Wednesday, is the last one that he can announce before the state assembly polls scheduled in April -May 2018. The next one in March 2018, is expected to be the traditional vote-on-account that is presented before elections.
“Siddaramaiah has filled the budget with elements specifically tailored to face the elections. This includes lessons learned from popular leaders in other states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. He has also factored in what happened in Uttar Pradesh while presenting this budget,” one of Siddaramaiah’s aides told ET.
Among the factors that helped Bharatiya Janata Party sweep UP and Uttarakhand, analysts and the political circles have identified two that had played a major role: the promise of LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the attention paid by party’s national president Amit Shah to micro-communities among the backward castes and Dalits, who were networked with and given tickets.
These schemes helped the saffron party muster massive support of women and these communities, according to figures put out by analysts. Siddaramaiah’s budgets — this one being his 12th — have always focussed on women, backward castes, Dalits and minorities, but this time the attention is very clearly defined.
The most telling part is the scheme under which he has announced to give LPG connections to two lakh families belonging to SC/ST and below poverty line in collaboration with the food and civil supplies department, mirroring the Ujjwala scheme and applying it more specifically to the Dalits and the poor.