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CM in early-budget rush to save gaddi
February, 14th 2011

Fear of legal action and political compulsions have been cited as the reasons for chief minister B S Yeddyurappa breaching tradition and presenting the state  budget ahead of the Union budget. The alleged land scams and nepotism have made the opposition, governor and the BJP top brass breathe down Yeddyurappa's neck.

CASE 1 - LAND SCAMS

Cases related to alleged land scams by Yeddyurappa, his children and lieutenants filed before the sessions court in Bangalore have made the CM lose his sleep. Though the court is yet to take cognizance, the fear of framing charges/registration of an FIR by Lokayukta police or the CBI is troubling him.

CASE 2: DISQUALIFICATION OF 16 MLAs

The high court is likely to deliver its verdict on disqualification of five independent MLAs on Monday. If the disqualification is quashed, then the CM will be in a quandary. Besides, the Supreme Court is hearing the disqualification of 11 MLAs. If the disqualification is quashed in both cases, then the MLAs will enter the assembly to hound Yeddyurappa, who will be forced to prove his majority.

CASE 3: JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

If the UPA accedes to BJP's demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the 2G spectrum case, then it would be difficult for the BJP national leadership to defend Yeddyurappa. The UPA may use him to embarass the party, which then would be left with little option than to act against the CM.

BUDGET AS A POLITICAL WEAPON

The disqualified MLAs and legal action have put Yeddyurappa in a spot. The talk of leadership change, too, has bothered him. Rumours are that if such a situation arises, he may dissolve the assembly and seek fresh mandate. A populist budget would strike chord with the people. The CM began talking about the budget immediately after the recent political crisis and has already said he won't be levying any taxes.

IMPLICATIONS

Financial experts, however, do not approve of his action and feel the state budget should be presented after the Union budget. "The state budget should be in line with the Union one. The Union budget is fixed and presented on the last day of February. It can't be changed. If states present their budget ahead of the Centre, then they will miss an opportunity to bring their budget in line with the Union budget. If it is not in line, then both will be working with cross-purposes,'' said Prof Narendra Pani of National Institute of Advanced Studies.

Also, for instance, if the railway minister announces a project for Karnataka and seeks the state's contribution, it will be difficult if the state budget is already presented. However, officials argue that in such cases it would be accommodated in the supplementary estimates.

Besides, in the absence of a clear picture about resources from the Centre, the state budget may be financially unpredictable. In the 2010-11 budget, the total receipts were Rs 68,564 crore, while the total expenditure was Rs 70,063 crore. In this, share of central taxes was Rs 9060.09 crore, grants from the Centre Rs 5530.47 crore and loans Rs 1,142 crore.

 
 
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