The 13th Karnataka Legislative Assembly, presently in the last lap of its term with February 15 perhaps being the last day on which it was in session, will go down in the history of the Karnataka Legislature on having created several new records.
With the present session of the legislature being adjourned sine die and with the government obtaining the approval to a vote-on-account for the first four months of the ensuing financial year, it is highly unlikely that the Legislative Assembly will be summoned again although the term draws to a close three months later in May. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar also has no plans to seek a confidence vote since there is no threat to his government.
Be it the manner in which the Bharatiya Janata Party established its majority to rule the State for a full term in June 2008 or the dispute between Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly K.G. Bopaiah in October 2010 during which time the then Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa re-established his majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly, the nearly five-year rule by the BJP has set new precedents largely relating to a novel way of circumventing the Tenth Schedule of the Anti-Defection law and thereafter working overtime to stay in power irrespective of the serious intra-party differences within the ruling party.
The BJP which rode to power with 110 seats in the 224 member Legislative Assembly (three seats short of a simple majority) initially utilised the support of five of the six independents to exhibit to the Governor (through a confidence vote) that it enjoys a comfortable majority . The Congress too had a chance to form the Government if it had sought the support of the Janata Dal (Secular), which won 28 seats, but it rather preferred to stay in the Opposition having had a rough ride with the Janata Dal (Secular).
In all, the 13th Legislative Assembly met for around 175 days over the past five years although as per law it should have met for at least 360 days. Added to this, even during the brief periods when the legislature sessions were held, most time was spent in dharna, protests and mud-slinging, which drives home the point that legislations have been enacted in haste. Nearly 75 legislations including a large number of amendments were passed over the last five years although many of them have been returned by the Governor or are pending before the Governor or the President for assent and this includes the anti-cattle slaughter Bill.
The first trouble for the Assembly commenced in mid-2010 and until this date eight major incidents were recorded which virtually threatened the survival of the government and all of them centred on the intra-party differences within the BJP. If 16 legislators were expelled from the Legislative Assembly in October 2010 resulting in them moving the Supreme Court which ordered the restoration of their membership, January 2013 witnessed the ruling party being drastically reduced in strength following the resignation of 14 legislators and 12 of them being accorded approval by the Speaker.
The 13th Legislative Assembly was presided by two Speakers — the first being Jagadish Shettar, who is presently Chief Minister, and the second being K.G. Bopaiah, who was initially elected Deputy Speaker.
The Assembly also saw three Chief Ministers — B.S. Yeddyurappa, D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar similar to that of the ninth Legislative Assembly wherein Veerendra Patil, S. Bangarappa and Veerappa Moily were Chief Ministers.