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Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Photo: Mint
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Photo: Mint

Karnataka govt forms panel to draft plan on election pledges

Plan to ensure that all 'practical assurances' made in Cong, JD(S) election manifestos are implemented

Bengaluru: A five-member committee will be set up to prepare a draft common minimum programme (CMP) for the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, according to the coordination and monitoring committee that was set up to help the government function smoothly.

The CMP would be drafted to ensure that all “practical" assurances made in the election manifestos of the two political parties are implemented, the committee said on Thursday.

“All the popular and flagship programmes launched by the previous government and announced in the budget will be continued. After CMP, the government will think of introducing new programmes," said Siddaramaiah, former chief minister and chairman of the coordination committee.

The drafting committee will be made up of three members from the Congress and two from the JD(S), and their names will be announced on Friday. The committee will have 10 days to draft the CMP.

Coalition governments at the centre, such as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the United Progressive Alliances (UPA-I and UPA-II) led by Manmohan Singh, have also drawn up CMPs in the past in order to ensure proportional representation and implementation of assurances given by the allies in their election manifestos.

“As it’s a coalition government, it would be difficult to implement all the assurances made by both parties in their manifestos," Siddaramaiah said.

Agrarian distress has been one of the binding factors between the Congress and its alliance partner the JD(S).

However, the promise of a 53,000 crore farm-loan waiver by the JD(S) is likely to pose the biggest challenge for the post-poll allies in Karnataka.

The CMP would have to find a middle ground on farm-loan waiver without adversely impacting either party.

“Drawing up a formalized CMP is a good practice," said N. Bhaskar Rao, a Delhi-based political analyst. For the CMP to succeed, the government should place all the proposals before the public before formalizing them, Rao added.

The fear that the Narendra Modi-led NDA, which stormed into power in 2014, would dilute the UPA’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) led its allies rally to ensure the new administration kept the programme running to address growing unemployment.

The coordination committee for the coalition government in Karnataka also decided to name the chairpersons for at least 30 boards and corporations by next week.

The decision is seen more as an attempt to check the consolidation of disgruntled Congress
legislators, which has posed a threat to the fragile coalition government.

Meanwhile, at least 10 senior leaders of the Congress, who missed out on ministerial berths in last Wednesday’s cabinet expansion, have been meeting other disgruntled members with the aim of forging a larger bargaining force to help negotiate their way into the ministry.

Leaders such as M.B. Patil, H.K. Patil and Tanveer Sait have openly expressed their displeasure at being left out of the cabinet under chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

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