Karnataka: Five-day session likely to be stormy

Govt is likely to train guns against the BJP, accusing the Union government of being indifferent to the concerns of the state.

Bengaluru: The first sitting of the legislature in this new calendar year will begin here from Monday with Governor Vajubhai Vala addressing the joint session of both Houses.

The five-day session, which will be held till February 10, is likely to be stormy with opposition expected to corner the government on various issues, including income tax raids on Minister for Small Scale Industries Ramesh L Jarkiholi and Mahila Congress chief Laxmi R Hebbalkar's premises last month, and seek action against them.

The Opposition is also likely to question the government on the law and order situation following incidents of molestation on the New Year’s eve, and its handling of the drought situation in the state.

On its part, the Siddaramaiah government is likely to train guns against the Bharatiya Janata Party, accusing the Union government of being indifferent to the concerns of the state, expressing reservation over quantum of drought relief and delay in its release.

It is also likely to bring up union government and Prime Minister's "unwillingness" to mediating in solving interstate water issues like Mahadayi or Cauvery, in its defence.

During the session, the government is likely to move an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to pave the way for the traditional buffalo race ‘Kambala’ in the coastal region.

Following the growing demand for lifting High Court's stay on Kambala, the government last week decided to move a draft bill during the session.

This legislature session has come at a time when both ruling Congress and principal Opposition BJP are a divided house, and JD(S) claiming that it is looking for candidates for 2018 assembly polls.

While the ruling party is facing dissidence with party veteran and former Chief Minister S M Krishna quitting it, resentment within BJP continues against its state President B S Yeddyurappa’s style of functioning.

There are voices of criticism over the decision to convene the session for just five days, instead of following the 15-day norm for the opening session.

JD(S) to rake up BMIC land acquisition issue
The land acquisition for the controversial Bengaluru-Mysuru Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) is all set to crop up against during the forthcoming Assembly Session, beginning from Monday.

This time, JD(S) will take up the government inaction after the Supreme Court ruled that compensation be calculated for farmers, whose lands were acquired by KIADB as per the Old KIADB Act. Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, JD(S) patriarch H.D. Deve Gowda said that he would ask his party members not to allow Assembly proceedings, until the government came to the rescue of farmers. Apart from land acquired by NICE, the ruling affected farmers all over the state, where KIADB had acquired land.

Charging that NICE was behind the petition before the High Court, which sought compensation to be calculated as per Old KIADB Act, Mr Gowda said the division bench of the High Court set aside the order and ruled that the compensation should be calculated as per the new Act. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the compensation should be calculated as per Old Act, he said.

“In the first place, there are references in the case about NICE indicating that the company was behind it. Secondly, the Supreme Court has noted that the Division Bench should not have interfered, as State had not gone on appeal. This shows that the government was a mute spectator, though KIADB is part of the government. The case will not only affect the land losers of NICE projects, the KIADB has notified around 2.5 lakh acres and all farmers will suffer,'” he noted.

Declining to react to the resignation of former CM S.M. Krishna from the Congress, Mr Gowda said that he would not attach much importance to the statement made by Mr Kumaraswamy that the fallout of Mr Krishna’s resignation would be early polls in the state. “He knows the pain he is suffering and he had taken a decision. I do not want to comment on the issue and will not react to any statement after his resignation,” he said.

However, he said that Karnataka elections would be notified by February 2018 and would take place as per schedule. “Both the PM and President are in favour of holding simultaneous elections to the Assemblies and the Lok Sabha. Gujarat and other states are going to polls by the year end. There is a possibility of clubbing Karnataka elections with that,” he added. Meanwhile, Mr Gowda said that the JD(S) convention, to be held on February 8, had been postponed to February 10.

HDK: Committed a mistake by forming 20:20 govt with BJP
In what is considered an attempt to woo the minorities to his side, state Janata Dal (Secular) state president H.D. Kumaraswamy said he committed a mistake by forming a 20:20 month coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka in 2006-07.

Addressing members of Kannada Cultural Foundation of UAE national unit in Dubai, he said in order to keep communal forces at bay, his party forged an alliance with the Congress party to form the government in 2004. Subsequently, the alliance partner tried to poach on JD(S) legislators which forced him to join hands with the BJP.

“I did a big mistake of forming the coalition government with the help of BJP,” he added.

Mr Kumaraswamy also praised JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda for giving four per cent quota in government jobs to Muslims ahead of other states.

A host of JD(S) legislators and Mandya Lok Sabha member, Mr C S Puttaraj participated in the function.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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