Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday announced that Anna Bhagya, the free rice scheme, will be implemented as on when the rice is available to the government, setting the stage for slugfest between the ruling Congress and the BJP.
The BJP had stated that if the scheme is not implemented by July 1, the party would launch a protest. The JD-S is also attacking the ruling Congress government for announcing the scheme without preparation.
Anna Bhagya was the major scheme promised by the Congress party in its election manifesto. Under the scheme, every member of BPL cardholder's family will get 10 kg rice free.Siddaramaiah and Congress leaders are targeting the Central government and PM Modi over the denial of sale of rice to Karnataka by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The Chief Minister stated that to implement the free rice scheme, 2.29 lakh metro tonnes of rice is required which is not available. He said that the FCI, which works under the Central government, first agreed to supply the rice in writing and then refused to sell it to Karnataka.
"It is a conspiracy of the Central government. In spite of having stocks, they are denying the sale of rice. I had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and requested him to supply rice. It is for money, not for free. The BJP government is stealing the food of the poor," he attacked.
He said that rice is not available in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab. Whenever rice is available, the scheme will be implemented, Siddaramaiah stated.Asked about the protest on the issue by the BJP, he asked what moral rights do BJP leaders have as they have not fulfilled any promise made in their manifestos.
"Former CM B.S. Yediyurappa should come out in the open to explain how many schemes the BJP government had implemented. "We are sincerely trying to bring rice. If BJP leaders are for the poor, they must put pressure on the Central government to provide rice," he said. Siddaramaiah stated that the issue will be discussed in the cabinet which will be held on Wednesday.