BJP playing politics on foodgrains for poor, says CM Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launched a fresh attack on the state and central BJP leadership after the Centre discontinued the sale of wheat and rice from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) warehouses to state governments, saying that they were trying to “scuttle” the Anna Bhagya Scheme and playing politics on foodgrains for the poor.

The Siddaramaiah government plans to roll out its second guarantee, the Anna Bhagya scheme providing 10 kg foodgrains per person per month to all BPL families in the state from July 1.

“We are honestly trying to implement the Anna Bhagya Scheme by July 1 despite politics and roadblocks, ” the Chief Minister said on Monday.

“Do the BJP leaders have any respect, honour? They are not providing rice even as we are paying money. They are anti-poor. They are ready to sell rice for private players. They refuse to sell it to us. What does it indicate?” the CM said.

Speaking to the reporters at his home office, Krishna, in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah maintained that the central government was doing politics in providing rice to the poor. “Will the central government grow rice? Do they own paddy fields? The rice is purchased from the states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about cooperative federalism. We are in a federal structure. We should be in terms of cooperation. From where does the Centre get taxes? It gets it from the states, then they should cooperate, ” he underlined.

“Andhra Pradesh, Telangana have said that there is no stock of rice. Chhattisgarh has 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice and it will provide for only one month. The requirement is 2.28 lakh metric tonnes for the state. The rice is not available in Punjab as well. The FCI had stated on June 7th that it will provide rice. On 12th they agreed to provide 7 lakh tonnes of rice. I personally called the deputy general manager of FCI and he agreed. But, on 14th June we got a letter denying the supply. It should be called politics right?” CM Siddaramaiah questioned.

“To provide rice for money, BJP is playing politics… The BJP is hatching a conspiracy, ” he maintained.

“Rs 840 crore is required for a month and for a year Rs 10, 092 crore is needed to implement the scheme. We are ready to bear the expense. The BJP leaders who are demanding transfer of money to accounts, should instead ask the central BJP government to provide rice. The jowar and ragi are not available in the market and there is no stock, ” CM Siddaramaiah stated.

“We are taking quotations from the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF), Kendriya Bhandar and see how much they can provide.