Ministers discuss political situation at Cabinet meeting

The State Cabinet, which met here on Monday under the leadership of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, is understood to have informally discussed the prevailing political situation with particular reference to the pros and cons of opting for dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. Reports have it that most Ministers were of the opinion that there was no need to seek dissolution at the present juncture.

A record number of subjects, stated to be more than 100, were on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting and informed sources in the Government said that Ministers were “working overtime” to obtain the approval for several proposals pertaining to their respective departments. However, most of the subjects on the agenda had to be deferred owing to the model code of conduct for the elections to the urban local bodies being in force. After quickly obtaining the approval of the Cabinet for several drinking water projects and some educational institutions (following the clearance given by the Election Commission), the discussion is stated to have centred on the political situation and the Chief Minister briefed the Council of Ministers on his discussions with the national president of the BJP and other senior leaders during his recent visit to New Delhi.

Mr. Shettar told The Hindu: “None of the Ministers favoured dissolution although we did discuss on the political situation.” It was earlier widely believed that the Chief Minister will seek a dissolution of the Assembly soon after the passage of the State Budget (vote-on-account for the first four months of the financial year), but this was ruled out given the majority that the ruling party enjoyed and the same status continues today.

The present strength of the BJP in the truncated Assembly is 107 (including the Speaker and two others) in a House of 208 members. The resignation of the BJP member H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda is pending while that of the two others — Vittal Katakadhonda and D.S. Suresh — submitted last month are now infructuous given the fact that they attended the budget session and signed as members of the BJP.

In the meanwhile, the BJP central leadership is believed to have given a free hand to Mr. Shettar to take a decision on dissolving the Assembly before the ensuing elections. Of the two ministers — C.P. Yogeshwar and Raju Gouda Nayak — who resigned from the Council of Ministers, Mr Yogeshwar has even resigned from the Assembly while Mr Raju Gouda is still holding on the Assembly membership apparently since the Congress is yet to clear his entry to that party.

Sources close to Mr. Shettar said while the party high command has left it to the Chief Minister to take a final call on the dissolution of the Assembly, the Ministers at the Cabinet meeting opined that there was no need to be in a hurry since the situation did not warrant. Further , there was also no threat that some more legislators would walk out of the ruling party in the near future.

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