K’taka legislature session begins Monday; Opp to corner Cong-JD(S) govt over agrarian issues

Team Udayavani, Dec 9, 2018, 7:05 PM IST

Belagavi: The winter session of the Karnataka legislature, set to begin here from Monday, is likely to be a stormy affair with the opposition BJP expected to corner the government over a host of issues, including farmer suicides and alleged lack of clarity and delay in the implementation of the farm loan waiver.

Coalition worries within the ruling Congress-JDS alliance and disgruntlement over the delay in the cabinet expansion may also cast a shadow over the session.

The saffron party has already announced a large-scale protest meet in Belagavi, likely to be attended by over one lakh farmers, during the session to corner the government on agrarian issues.

With 100 taluks in 24 districts of Karnataka being declared drought-hit, BJP leaders are likely to take on the state government over relief and mitigation measures.

“The chief minister has confined himself to Old Mysuru region… We will raise farmers issues both inside and outside the House. Tomorrow, we are gathering more than one lakh farmers to send a strong message to the government,” Leader of Opposition in the Assembly B S Yeddyurappa said.

The animosity between Yeddyurappa and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who has been indulging in a verbal duel, and the results of Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Mizoram to be declared on Tuesday, is expected to add spice to the heated atmosphere in the legislature.

The BJP, which is the single-largest party in the 224-member Assembly with 104 MLAs, has been alleging that the government has “not taken off” even six months after being in power.

Hitting back at this, Kumaraswamy has said the coalition government will hold its performance to the BJP chief Yeddyurappa’s “face”, during the session.

The JD(S)-Congress government’s worries may be heightened with sugarcane farmers in Belgavi district threatening to intensify their protest over demands for clearance of their arrears by sugar factories and announcement of purchase price for sugarcane for the current season as had been done in neighbouring Maharashtra.

Sugarcane farmers had withdrawn their protest last month following assurances from the government that their issues would be resolved. They have now threatened to resume it during the session, alleging that the government has not kept its word.

Issues within the ruling coalition are troubling the government, whose longevity and stability has been questioned repeatedly. Several legislators, especially those from the Congress, are reportedly unhappy over delay in cabinet expansion and functioning of the coalition government.

With some Congress MLAs allegedly threatening to boycott the winter session, the ruling coalition’s coordination committee, that met on Wednesday, decided to expand the Kumaraswamy ministry on December 22, soon after the session ends.

Amid all this, speculations are also rife about the BJP still trying to poach some disgruntled Congress MLAs, as part of its efforts to come back to power in Karnataka.

Many Congress MLAs have even complained to their party leaders about the style of functioning of a few JD(S) ministers, including CM Kumaraswamy’s brother and PWD minister H D Revanna, and alleged discrimination towards them in developmental and constituency-related matters.

For the BJP too, it remains to be seen to what extent the party will stay united in raising issues and fighting the the ruling alliance on the floor of the House. Reports of differences within the state BJP and Yeddyurappa allegedly loosing grip over it have been emerging recently.

On the other hand, Kumaraswamy, whose administration has been accused of being apathetic towards north Karnataka and concentrating only on the southern districts, that too the Vokkaliga-dominated old Mysuru region which is a bastion of his party, now has an opportunity to bridge the gap during the session.

This will be the first Assembly session for the Congress-JD(S) government in Belagavi, a town in north Karnataka, bordering Mahrarashtra, that has been hosting legislature session once a year since 2006.

The move was initiated by the JD(S)-BJP coalition government, with Kumaraswamy as chief minister. Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled after the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru, was built during the BJP government as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka.

Maharashtra claims that Belagavi should belong to it.

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