Bengaluru: On Monday, when the Legislature meets at Vidhana Soudha, all eyes will be on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as he sets out to fight barbs not only from the opposition BJP and JD(S), but from his own partymen too.
Senior Congress legislators Malikayya Guttedar, Malaka Reddy and dropped minister V. Srinivas Prasad, may not come out with all guns blazing at the CM. But they are certain to do their bit to make the Opposition’s task of embarrassing Siddaramaiah easier. What has come as a respite for the CM is actor-politician Ambareesh’s decision to keep his resignation from the Assembly on hold.
The monsoon session of the state legislature, scheduled to begin on Monday, could see an assertive Chief Minister Siddaramaiah beating off the challenge from the two crisis-ridden opposition parties though he is yet to completely overcome the dissidence which erupted in the state Congress after the recent reshuffle.
Mr Siddaramaiah had his way while effecting the rejig and also displayed his political acumen by getting his man, Ivan D’Souza appointed as Congress chief whip in the Legislative Council.
Although there are dissatisfied leaders in the ruling party, the Chief Minister seems to have gained an upper hand by ensuring the number of rebels declined. Mandya strongman and former minister, M.H. Ambareesh has backed off from his decision to resign from the Assembly, which has come as a shot in the arm for the Chief Minister but he cannot take everything for granted this session, as a section of disgruntled ruling party members may try to embarrass him.
Senior Congress legislators like M. Krishnappa, Malikayya Guttedar, Dr A. B. Malaka Reddy and former minister, V. Srinivasprasad are not likely to let go any opportunity to embarrass Mr Siddaramaiah.
Countering them could be newly inducted ministers such as Higher Education minister, Basavaraj Raya Reddy and health minister K. Ramesh Kumar- vocal supporters of the CM, which he had been lacking till date.
As for the opposition BJP, it is fighting embarrassing dissent from none other its leader in the Upper House, K.S. Eshwarappa even as it struggles to come out with a strategy to retain D.H. Shankaramurthy as Council chairman. The Janata Dal (Secular) is facing an unprecedented crisis and eight of its suspended MLAs may even seek separate sitting arrangements in the Assembly.
The party has already initiated a process seeking disqualification of these MLAs. If the Opposition parties decide to set aside their internal bickering and focus on issues like the exam leaks, corruption and nepotism charges against ministers such as Public Works minister, Dr H. C. Mahadevappa and cooperation minister H. S. Mahadevprasad besides the weakening of the Lokyukta, the ruling party may have to face tough moments in both Houses.
The other issues likely to dominate the 19-day session are Deputy Superintendent P Anupama Shenoy’s resignation episode, the failure of the government to get sugar mills clear farmers’ arrears, which runs into a few thousand crores and a minister’s son being carried by police personnel in Mysuru....