Opposition boycotts session on the last day
The winter session of the State Legislature at the newly-built Suvarna Vidhana Soudha came to an end in the border town of Belgaum on Thursday, even as uncertainty within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party because of dissidence continues to dog the government.
The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa taking over the reins of the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) last week and participation of 14 BJP MLAs in its convention at Haveri had cast a shadow on the session, which ended with the entire Opposition boycotting the session on the last day.
The dissidence activities, including sacking of Cooperation Minister B.J. Puttaswamy and resignation of Infrastructure Minister Sunil Valyapure, had put a question mark on the very survival of the six-month-old Jagadish Shettar government. Vijay Shankeshwar too tendered resignation to the Legislative Council membership hitting out at the RSS and BJP central leaders.
The big relief for the BJP government, however, came from an unexpected quarter — the Opposition parties — which did not take advantage of the internal bickering in the BJP, which was battered by open rebellion of legislators and a few Ministers.
The Opposition members questioned the government’s claim that it had majority in the Lower House. Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah argued that the government had been reduced to a minority and demanded that the Chief Minister take a confidence vote.
However, the move of the principal Opposition, Congress, not to pursue a no-confidence motion against the BJP government came as a blessing to the government.
Though the session was held in the border town of Belgaum, issues related to north Karnataka took a backseat with the Cauvery imbroglio becoming priority on the first three days. Normal proceedings resumed on the fourth day of the session after Mr. Shettar announced stoppage of water release to Tamil Nadu from December 10.
Law and Parliamentary Minister S. Suresh Kumar admitted to The Hindu that quality of deliberations could have been better had it been focussed on north Karnataka issues.
Though the burning issues of north Karnataka such as the slow progress of the Upper Krishna Project, implementation of the D.M. Najundappa Committee report on regional imbalances, drought relief and drinking water projects were raised, they were not pursued following bedlam in the Assembly over the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and the Karnataka Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2012.
Many Bills passed
The boycott of the Assembly by the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) to demand extension of the session by a day to debate issues pertained to north Karnataka, CAG reports on illegal mining and denotification of lands by the BDA came in handy for the smooth passage 16 Bills in the Lower House.
The violence in front of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha over implementation of the A.J. Sadashiva Commission report on internal quota among Scheduled Castes was yet another black spot on the session.