Venkaiah for early elections to Karnataka Assembly

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New Delhi, Mar 18: Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, arguing for early elections to Karnataka Assembly without extending President's Rule beyond May 28, today cautioned the Centre on the need to stick to the spirit of the Constitution.

Initiating the debate on the Karnataka Budget and Appropriation Bill, Mr Naidu said self rule was the essence of democracy and the Government should stick to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

''Thanks to the good management of the economy by previous Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister B S Yeddiyurappa, the revenue receipts jumped by 13.31 per cent,'' he said, adding that the state had been maintaining a record revenue surplus continuously since 2004-05 maintaining a revenue deficit of less than three per cent of the Gross State Domestic Project which was expected to grow by a real nine per cent.

Terming the budget as a 'photocopy report' of the one presented by previous coalition for 2007-08, the BJP leader said having failed to contain the sympathy wave for the BJP, the Congress was trying to postpone the elections.

He criticised the Government for allocating only Rs 50 crore for the Vidhan Soudha at Belgaum whereas the previous government had earmarked Rs 250 crore and the work was yet to commence. The spending on Sandhya Suraksha Yojana, a scheme for the elderly people, was providing Rs 2,500 crore to cover six to seven lakh people at Rs 400 each. The spending on this count was not even Rs two crore, he lamented.

Noting the state government had cleared the upgradation and new airports at Gulbarga, Hassan, Shimoga and Bijapur towns with an outlay of Rs 418 crore in 2007-08, he said an amount of Rs 100 crore was earmarked for expediting works for setting up of these airports, but there is no sign of any progress, he said adding that Karnataka, being a developing state, needed support for infrastructure.

Mr Naidu said it was important for the new Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli to be connected as the new airport is to be opened in another month's time. He said there should be status report on the money spent during the last six months.

Criticising the reduction of grain allocation for the PDS families to 25 kg a month per family, he said it was ''not a pro-poor decision.''

UNI

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