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Claims, counter-claims over welfare schemes

Special Correspondent

Congress, JD(S) say midday meals, cheap rice are their brainchild

SHIMOGA: Which party is responsible for implementing popular welfare measures such as the distribution of the rice at Rs. 3 a kg, midday meals for schoolchildren and lower rate of interest on the agricultural loans?

Addressing a press conference here on his arrival to campaign for the Janata Dal (S) candidate for the Shimoga Lok Sabha byelection, the Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, claimed that the schemes were the promises made by his party on the eve of the last general elections.

He said that the fact that these programmes were given adequate financial support in the last two budgets presented by him as Finance Minister spoke of the seriousness shown by his party.

Questioning the propriety of the Congress in claiming these programmes as its own, Mr. Siddaramaiah asked if it is so particular about its claim, why did the Congress not introduce them earlier when it was in power in the State on its own.

The President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, B. Janardhana Poojary, told presspersons on Thursday: "Is there any rule that these programmes should not be implemented in Karnataka because they are not implemented in the other States ruled by it?"

Mr. Poojary claimed that his party promised in its manifesto that it would supply the rice to the poor at Rs. 3 a kg if voted to power in the last general elections, while the Janata Dal (S) had promised to do it at Rs. 3.50 a kg.

He said when the Common Minimum Programme was announced by the coalition partners, it was decided that the rice will be distributed at Rs. 3 a kg.

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