Victory of Karnataka farmers, state govt: Congress on Centre getting EC clearance for drought relief


PTI, Apr 22, 2024, 6:01 PM IST

Jairam Ramesh (Source: PTI / File)

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday claimed victory of the farmers of Karnataka and the state government after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the Election Commission has given clearance to it to deal with the issue raised by Karnataka regarding financial assistance for drought management.

“After the people of Karnataka rejected him decisively and resoundingly in May 2023, the Prime Minister has consistently discriminated against Kannadigas and the state of Karnataka,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.

“First, he tried to sabotage the ‘Anna Bhagya’ food security scheme. Congress’s Government was unshaken and launched a direct cash transfer scheme for the 4.49 crore beneficiaries.

“Then, it delayed the legitimate drought relief funds due to the farmers of the state. 223 out of 236 talukas in Karnataka are facing drought conditions, with 196 talukas being categorised as severely hit. As early as September 2023, the Karnataka government had approached the Modi ‘Sarkar’ to release funds of Rs 18,172 crores for drought relief,” Ramesh said.

The Congress leader said the Karnataka government was forced to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court, because the “sulking” prime minister was refusing to take a decision on its memorandum.

“Today, thanks to the intervention of the Honourable Supreme Court, the Modi Government has agreed to take a decision within a week. This is a victory for the long-suffering farmers of Karnataka, and for the State Government which has fought for their welfare and interests,” he said.

Another Congress general secretary and in-charge for Karnataka Randeep Surjewala said this is a huge victory for Karnataka farmers and state government, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D K Shivakumar’s leadership.

“Modi Government’s conspiracy to deny drought relief of Rs 18,172 crore to farmers is crumbling like a house of cards. Injustice cannot stand at the altar of justice. Karnataka Government’s petition before the Supreme Court has shaken the PM and HM out of their slumber of inequity and injustice towards ‘Raitha Bandhu’ of Karnataka,” he said in a post on X.

“Let the ‘Federal Structure’ be respected by Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Central Government. Sh. Narendra Modi and Sh. Amit Shah should know that Kannadigas will not tolerate the designed enmity and discrimination with people of Karnataka. Congress Government and workers will struggle for the rights of Kannadigas till our last breath. Let justice prevail! Satyameva Jayate,” Surjewala said.

The Centre on Monday told the apex court that the Election Commission has given clearance to it to deal with the issue raised by Karnataka regarding financial assistance for drought management.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta was hearing a plea filed by the Karnataka government seeking a direction to the Centre to release financial assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the state for drought management.

“The Election Commission has cleared the government to deal with this question. I think it will be done expeditiously,” Attorney General R Venkataramani, appearing for the Centre, told the bench.

He told the bench that the matter could be taken up next week.

“This should all be done amicably…we are having a federal structure,” the bench observed, while adjourning the matter.

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