Minister defends sanctioning houses only in Congress MLAs’ segments

Housing Minister M.H. Ambareesh’s remarks defending sanctioning 50,000 houses to the poor only in the Congress MLAs’ constituencies angered the Opposition members who staged a dharna in the Assembly on Tuesday, accusing the government of being partisan.

During the Zero Hour, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar alleged that the government had sanctioned 7,200 houses under the Vajpayee Housing Scheme in the constituencies of 15 Congress MLAs and about 50,000 houses under the Basava Housing Scheme in the segments of 85 Congress MLAs. He wanted to know why houses under these schemes had not been allocated in the constituencies of the Opposition members.

Mr. Ambareesh said, “We have sanctioned houses in the Congress MLAs’ constituencies as we need to satisfy the people who voted for us.”

In an obvious reference to the fact that the Congress remained without power in the State for a long time, he said, “You should know that we (Congress) underwent ajnaatavaasa for seven years.”

This angered the Opposition members who wondered if the Minister’s statement meant that this government was working for the welfare of only the constituencies represented by Congress MLAs. They trooped to the well of the House and staged a dharna demanding that the government be fair and non-partisan in its approach.

Adjourned

When they refused to withdraw the dharna, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa adjourned the House and tried to resolve the stalemate by holding a meeting of the Floor Leaders and government representatives.

When the House re-assembled after nearly two hours, Mr. Ambareesh assured the protesting members that he would sanction housing schemes for the constituencies of the Opposition members too if they came out with specific proposals. But the Opposition members refused to budge and maintained that there was no clarity in the assurance. “We want the Minister to make it clear whether the [constituencies of the] Opposition members will also get the same number of houses as [those of] their Congress counterparts and how much time it would take for him to sanction the houses,” Mr. Shettar said.

When there was no proper reply to this from the Minister, the Speaker adjourned the House for lunch. After the House re-assembled, Mr. Ambareesh promised the protesting members that he would resolve the issue within a week after the session ends. Following this, the protesting members withdrew their dharna.