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It’s never a good sign when a politician claims satisfaction with his performance. More so, when ground realities paint a different story.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah’s assessment of his 3-year performance is based on the 165 promises listed in his 2013 election manifesto. He claims to have fulfilled 120+ of these promises so far. Except for a few promises on housing, agriculture & social welfare, most other assurances given in 2013 were vague, not well-defined with no clear targets & milestones, and so, can be assessed in any convenient way.

The manifesto promises a house for every family in Karnataka in 5 years, a good example of a clear-cut promise. But it also includes a host of other grand assurances like “to make agriculture the sustaining backbone of economy, a more profitable & cost-effective endeavor, make arrangements for timely supply of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides & other inputs” , which cannot be assessed at all.

The 2013 manifesto cannot be a benchmark to assess the government’s performance.

The alternative is to look at ground realities. Karnataka can be looked at as 2 sub-regions – Bengaluru & rest of the state. Bengaluru is almost 60% of the state’s GDP and contributes more than 60% of the state’s tax revenues. Though the voter population in Bengaluru is only about 16% of the state total, they are a more vociferous lot. Despite all this, the government has nothing much to show on the ground in the city. The situation in water, sanitation, power, waste management, roads, traffic, other basic needs & infrastructure have worsened over the years. The rest of the state doesn’t look rosy either, with rural Karnataka facing the worst drought in decades and the govt not managing the situation well.

It’s not been a totally disastrous 3 years. There have been encouraging improvements in some areas. But the overall performance of the government is not satisfactory.

If the CM claims satisfaction, he is heading for trouble or may have to be satisfied with just one term, or both.

 

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