Leader of the Opposition wanted to know if the Minister has been absolved of the charges

The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday witnessed an exchange of words between Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar and Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar over a remark made by the former.

During the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address, Mr. Shivakumar flared up over a remark made against him by Mr. Shettar.

Challenging the Opposition leader, the Minister said that he was ready for a debate on the charges levelled against him. If Mr. Shettar had substantive proof to prove the charges, he was ready for a debate. However, Mr. Shettar asserted that he had not made any personal allegation against the Minister and refused to yield.

The issue cropped up when the Opposition leader criticised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for keeping Mr. Shivakumar out of the Cabinet following a letter from freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy only to accommodate him later, following “pressure” from the Congress high command.

Mr. Shettar said that Mr. Siddaramaiah had kept legislators, including Mr. Shivakumar, who are facing charges out of his Cabinet as suggested by Mr. Doreswamy. Minister Santosh Lad had to resign from the Cabinet. Now, the Chief Minister has inducted Mr. Shivakumar.

“I wanted to know whether Mr. Shivakumar had been cleared of the charges? Or, is it Mr. Siddaramaiah has succumbed to pressure from his party high command?” he asked.

Responding to Mr. Shivakumar, who was upset with the remark, Mr. Shettar clarified that he did not make any specific allegation against the Minister. If his intentions were so, he would have given a notice for discussion. “Mr. Siddaramaiah is facing a situation similar to the one we faced during our tenure,” he noted.

Stating that the government has not lived up to the expectations of the people, Mr. Shettar said that Mr. Siddaramaiah had no control over his Cabinet members and bureaucrats. The administration had collapsed and neither the Ministers nor the officials were conducting review meetings. “Letters by Congress member Basavaraja Rayaraddi and discontent among legislators during the recent Congress Legislature Party meetings were testimony of the bickering in the ruling party,” he observed.

Demanding a probe into illegal sand extraction and transportation, he said that a powerful lobby was creating an artificial sand scarcity.

Janata Dal (Secular) floor leader H.D. Kumaraswamy supported Mr. Shettar’s opinion.

Land, funds

Mr. Shettar also urged the government to immediately release land and funds for railway projects and the coach factory at Yadgir and warned that the State might lose them, if there was further delay in fulfilling the requirement.

He alleged that there was a decline in the law and order situation and incidents of rape and goondaism were being reported from the coastal districts.

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