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Siddaramaiah picks Rs 2 lakh crore mammoth budget over Vote-on-Account, BJP calls it gimmick

By Anusha Ravi

As Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah prepares to create a history of sorts by presenting his 13th budget on Friday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is crying foul over violation of conventionality. While it is the regular practice for Vote-on-accounts to be presented in an election year owing to the uncertainty of the government's return post-election, Siddaramaiah has chosen to present a full-fledged budget- a mammoth one at that.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

On Friday, Siddaramaiah- who also holds the finance portfolio- will present his 13th budget. Instead of giving the house a Vote-on-accounts for the next two months, a full-fledged budget will be presented. The 6th budget under Siddaramaiah's Chief Ministership, Friday's budget is likely to be of Rs 2 lakh crore in size. The BJP has alleged that a budget when Karnataka Assembly Election 2018 is barely two months away has no sanctity.

"Siddaramaiah has no moral right to present full budget when the state is going into an election. There is no sanctity in it since only Vote-on-account can be taken for three months. This budget is only to please the Congress and announce sops," said B S Yeddyurappa, State BJP chief.

The BJP has accused Siddaramaiah of indulging in gimmicks before the assembly election. "This is a gimmick budget and has no value. Siddaramaiah will promise the skies to the people because he knows the Congress won't return to power," said Shobha Karandlaje, MP, BJP.

Sources from the Chief Minister's office, however, maintain that the decision to present a full-fledged budget came from the previous BJP government. "Jagadish Shettar as CM presented a full budget despite 2013 being an election year. Siddaramaiah announced a fresh budget after coming to power," said the source.

Friday's budget is expected to be populist in nature with the Congress trying to win over farmers, students, minority and backward classes communities alike ahead of Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. A universal healthcare scheme to rival Modicare is also likely to be proposed in Friday's budget along with more welfare schemes.

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