Opposition set to confront Siddaramaiah government

A week-long session of Karnataka legislature begins in Bangalore on Wednesday with the opposition geared up to confront the eight-month old Siddaramaiah government on a host of issues, seeking to raise the political temperature with Lok Sabha polls just months away.

The session will begin with the customary address to the joint session by Governor H. R. Bhardwaj, Speaker Kagodu Thimappa told reporters in Bangalore on Tuesday.

The session will last till January 30.

With the honeymoon period over, the Siddaramaiah government is expected to come under intense fire from the opposition with the BJP gaining additional strength following the merger of B. S. Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Paksha with it recently.

On four KJP MLAs submitting a letter on merger of their party with BJP, Mr. Thimappa said it conforms to provisions under the Anti-Defection Act.

“The law says that at least two-thirds of the members of a party have to be in favour of a merger and four of the six KJP MLAs have submitted the letter of merger to me.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa, along with three other KJP MLAs out of the party’s strength of six —— U B Bankar, Vishvanath Patil and Gurupadappa Nagamarapally had submitted the merger letter to the Speaker on January 3.

Asked whether this development would strip JDS of principal opposition status in the House, as BJP’s strength would go up to 44 against its 40, Thimappa said, “A decision will be taken after the announcement of four KJP legislators merger with BJP on the floor of the house.”

The opposition is expected to raise the issues of induction of two “tainted” ministers R Roshan Baig and D K Shivakumar during the recent cabinet expansion as they faced charges of land grab and illegal mining, respectively.

JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy has declared that he would .

“expose the misdeeds” of the Congress government.

On the recent fortnight—long foreign tour of a contingent of 11 MLAs, Thimappa said he has asked the legislators to submit their study tour report in the next fifteen days.

The MLAs’ contingent led by Chairman of Backward Classes Committee of the Legislature B R Yavgal was on “study” tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, sparking a controversy for going abroad when many parts of the state were hit by drought.

Thimappa said presiding officers of the two Houses of the legislature have set up a high—level committee, comprising officials of the legislature secretariat, to suggest modalities on organising foreign tours for legislators.

He also said after submitting the calender of events to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, a decision has been taken to hold session for 60 days in a year.

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