Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

'Will quit politics if bribery allegations are proven correct': Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

CM Siddaramaiah was responding to BJP's allegations that he got bribes after the State Contractors' Association President Kempanna alleged that "40% commission was sought" to clear pending bills. However, Kempanna later withdrew all allegations.

Responding to the criticism by the BJP, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that he would retire from politics if it was proved that anyone had given him "a bribe of even five paise" during his government's previous tenure (2013-2018), and in his current term. He said this while speaking after inaugurating the Contractors' Convention held here at the Palace Grounds, on Monday, March 4.

CM Siddaramaiah has instructed the Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi to provide Rs 4,000 crore-worth of work without any "package system" for the benefit of small contractors.

The Chief Minister also positively responded to all the demands put forward by the contractors, including cancellation of the "package scheme" and payment of dues.

The Karnataka Chief Minister said that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and his predecessor Basavaraj Bommai had announced in their budgets that they would give Rs 5,300 crore for the Bhadra Upper Bank Project. "But till today, not a single rupee has been released," Siddaramaiah said.

He said that "irrespective of the Union government's non-cooperation, we will pay the contractors' money in phases".

The BJP has targetted CM Siddaramaiah and the Congress-led state government after State Contractors' Association President Kempanna alleged that "40% commission was sought" to clear pending bills. However, Kempanna later withdrew all allegations.

Earlier, the Congress had made the "40% commission" charges against the BJP as one of its main issues in the state Assembly elections.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi, President of the Contractors Association, Kempanna and others were also present during the event.

Shivakumar called upon the contractors to stay away from politics and politicians. Speaking at the convention, he said, "Keep away from politicians irrespective of which party is in power. I am aware that some politicians are harassing the contractors. We will be in power for the next 9 years and we will address all your concerns.

"It is not possible to run a government without contractors. We run the government and you run the projects. Both are public work, and you are part of the nation-building exercise," he added.

The Deputy Karnataka Chief Minister further said, "We have ear-marked about Rs 1.20 lakh crore for developmental works this year. Of the 3.71 lakh crore budget, about Rs 50,000 crore will go to the guarantee schemes. We have released funds for developmental projects so that contractors can execute them."

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