Bengaluru: In a day full of surprises, the two front-runners for the post of Chairman of the Legislative Council , Basavaraj Horatti of the Janata Dal (S) and S.R. Patil of the Congress lost the race to the dark horse from Kundapur, Pratap Chandra Shetty, who assumed the position on Tuesday.
Till last week, Mr Horatti, who was in-charge Chairman, was the front-runner for the post. But before leaving for Malaysia, former CM Siddaramaiah proposed the name of Mr Patil, triggering a race between the coalition partners. JD(S) supremo, H D Deve Gowda, even tried lobbying with the Congress high command that the Chairman's post should go to his party.
Meanwhile, several Congressmen reportedly began working behind the scenes for Mr Shetty. Leaders like Oscar Fernandes and Veerappa Moily, who hail from the coastal districts, came in handy and they allegedly persuaded Mr Gowda to back them, promising that the party would clip Mr Siddaramaiah's wings by making sure his candidate did not occupy the Chairman's post.
Back in Belagavi, Mr Patil had come ready to file his nomination for the post. But as the day passed, Congress MLCs began to realise they were going to have a different Chairman and started drifting away from him.
The actual winner became public only when Deputy CM, Dr G Parameshwar came looking for Mr Shetty, who had no clue what was in store till Mr Ivan D'Souza asked him to file his nomination. The BJP, with 18 MLCs in its kitty, did not bother fielding a candidate and Mr Shetty was declared elected unopposed.
Govt lacks funds for development: BSY
State BJP chief, B.S. Yeddyurappa claimed on Tuesday that the Kumaraswamy government had failed to deliver on its promises and had little money for development work, leaving the state in chaos.
Participating in a debate on the drought in the legislature, he ridiculed Chief Minister Kumaraswamy's claims of being accessible to the people when he preferred to stay in a guesthouse 25 kms from the city in Belagavi during the session and mocked him for making a virtue of not using the official government bungalow in Bengaluru while staying in two rooms of a five star hotel costing over Rs 2 crore a year.
Calling the drought the worst the state had seen in the last 25 to 30 years, Mr Yeddyurappa said the JD(S), which won only 37 seats in the last assembly poll after making huge promises of waiving farm and Stree Shakti loans and promoting the Israel model of agriculture in the state, had failed to fulfill any of them.
"The government has no money for any development work and has over Rs 12, 000 crore in unpaid bills. It has stopped giving free bicycles to students and a second pair of uniform to school children. Anganawadi volunteers and lecturers in government aided colleges have not been paid for the last four to six months," he charged, alleging that only 35 per cent of the money released for developmental work was actually being used.
Deploring that " amidst such chaos," the government was busy transferring officials, he claimed there was a price list for posts of Chief Engineers and Managing Directors of the Niravari Nigams....