The winter session of the Karnataka legislature, scheduled to begin at Belgaum on December 5, as approved by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj based on a recommendation of the State Cabinet, has put the leaders of all political parties on tenterhooks. However, there are doubts on whether the legislature session will run its course in the light of the serious intra-party differences in the Bharatiya Janata Party.
There is a clear vertical divide within the BJP legislature party, with the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa demonstrating that he has the numbers to pull down the government. On Monday, he stressed this again by stating that it is for the Jagadish Shettar government to decide on whether it wants to continue in office or dissolve the Legislative Assembly. BJP State president K.S. Eshwarappa has been taking pot shots at Mr. Yeddyurappa to drive home the point that the party is more important than the individual.
The session at Belgaum is being held in this background, and it is unlikely that it will last all the days. It is, however, quite evident that the BJP government is not keen on pulling the rug from under its own feet, more so since there are another six months before the term of the present Legislative Assembly draws to an end.
It was in 2006, during the coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy, that a session of the legislature was held in Belgaum for the first time, primarily to convey to the neighbouring State of Maharashtra that Belgaum is an integral part of Karnataka. This was followed by another weeklong session held in January 2009, when the B.S. Yeddyurappa government was in power.
The Chief Minister told The Hindu:“I am confident that the Belgaum session will be held, and all-out efforts are being made by the Secretariat to hold the session.” The session commences on December 5 and ends on December 12. Mr. Yeddyurappa is all set to float a new political party at Haveri on December 9.
Warning issued by BJP
The camp of Eshwarappa, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister in the government, has warned of disciplinary action against the legislators should there be evidence that they are associated with Mr. Yeddyurappa in promoting a new political party — the Karnataka Janata Paksha. The BJP has thus given a free hand to the Opposition to move a motion of no-confidence against the government, if need be.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara told The Hindu: “I have serious doubts that the legislature session will be held, particularly after the statements by Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Eshwarappa. In a way, they are both challenging each other and this obviously will lead to the collapse of the government”.