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Congress back in Karnataka as Siddaramaiah takes oath

Announces subsidised rice and milk schemes for families

Image Credit: EPA
India National Congress senior leader K Siddaramaiah, left, shakes hands with his seniorcongress leaders and friends, before his swearing in as chief minister of Karnataka, inBengaluru yesterday.
Gulf News

Bengaluru: The Congress returned to power in Karnataka on its own after nine years with its leader Siddaramaiah taking the oath on Monday as the 28th chief minister of the state in a grand yet brief ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people.

The return of the grand old party to Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the secretariat in this tech hub, was celebrated by more than 50,000 people who witnessed the 10-minute swearing-in ceremony at the sprawling Kanteerva stadium in the city centre amid tight security.

As Governor H.R. Bhardwaj administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 64-year-old Siddaramaiah, the crowds cheered wildly while Siddaramaiah fans from his assembly constituency Varuna staged folk dances to music, including drums.

The national party won a comfortable majority, bagging 121 of the 223 assembly constituencies for which polling was held on May 5. It has formed the government on its own seven years after it shared power with the JD-S in the state’s first coalition government.

In the new legislative assembly, the BJP and JD-S have 40 seats each as against 110 and 28 in the previous house. The new regional outfit Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), floated by former BJP chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, has six seats, BSR four and the remaining 12 are independents.

Families living below the poverty line will get 30kg of rice per month for Rs1 per kg in Karnataka from June 1, newly sworn-in state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Monday.

“The subsidised rice scheme will benefit 9.82 million BPL families living in rural and urban areas and will cost the exchequer Rs4.6 billion [Dh308.2 million],” Siddaramaiah told reporters at Vidhana Soudha soon after assuming office.

Asserting that the promises made in the Congress’s election manifesto were not empty but a commitment to the people of the state, the new chief minister said all the policies and programmes would be implemented during the next four years.

“We will ensure to implement all the promises made in the manifesto in the next four years. Some of them will be included in the state budget which we will present for this fiscal next month,” Siddaramaiah added.

A subsidy of Rs4 per litre of milk will be given to dairy producers and families across Karnataka, Siddaramaiah added.

“The subsidy will benefit 750,000 milk producers and will cost the state exchequer Rs4.96 billion per annum,” Siddaramaiah said.

The revised milk subsidy, which has been doubled from Rs2 per litre given during the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party government, is one of the promises the ruling Congress made in its election manifesto ahead of the state legislative assembly poll on May 5.

“The revised subsidy will come into force from today [Monday],” Siddaramaiah added.