Late by an hour for a press conference on the budget, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah humbly apologised to newsmen. “I went home for some time. You know, I was standing continuously for 4 hours.”
His record 13th budget spanned a full 4.10 hours, during which 69-year-old chief minister remained standing as he made a presentation without any breaks except to take sips of water. He started the budget at around 11.35 am and finished reading around 4 pm. The press conference was scheduled at 4pm, but he arrived at 5pm. Thus, the
The speech was poetic, quite literally, what with Siddaramaiah reciting Basavannas vachanas, couplets from Gopalkrishna Adiga, G S Shivarudrappa and S R Ekkundi. Even Mahatma Gandhi found a place.
It was in 1994 that Siddaramaiah presented his first budget as the finance minister. In a nostalgic tweet before the budget presentation, Siddaramaiah said his 13th budget took 24 years. “I look back on the journey of Karnataka with extreme pride.”
He read out a lengthy preamble mentioning Basavanna, Akkamamahadevi, Rani Chennamma continuing his penchant for invoking Kannada pride. He also used the preamble to lash out at the Centre.
Siddaramaiah referred to the Legislature as “our own Anubhava Mantapa.” The timing comes curiously in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Parliament recently, mentioning Basavannas Anubhava Mantapa as an early example of Indias democracy.
“I picture the last person who needs a help, the farmer who needs hope & the girl who has a dream. In responding to their aspirations I am guided by Basavanna, Ambedkar & Gandhi,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
In one word, Siddaramaiah said his four-decade journey as a farmers leader, a Kannada activist, a minister, a leader of opposition and then chief minister, was “great.” His policies have evolved over the years to favour the poor, he said.
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