BJP and KJP stage dharna demanding resignation of CM and sugar minister

The suicide of 60-year-old sugarcane grower Vittal Bhimappa Arabhavi of Kankanwadi village of Raibagh taluk created a furore in both the Houses of the State legislature leading to abrupt adjournment for a day amidst noisy scenes following protests by Opposition members.

In the Assembly, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) resorted to dharna demanding resignation of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Minister for Sugar Prakash B. Hukkeri.

Even before the Assembly resumed its post-lunch session, the BJP members began their dharna in the well of the House, shouting slogans against the government.

As soon as the house re-assembled, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took up an obituary reference to pay respect to the deceased farmer, and began describing how the “unfortunate” incident happened.

Even before the Chief Minister could touch upon the core issue of prices, the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa — who had just withdrawn his three-day old dharna in the House over Shaadi Bhagya scheme — trooped into the well of the House. He marched towards the seat of the Chief Minister angrily and entered into a heated exchange with him, while obstructing him from going ahead with his speech.

The BJP members too followed him into the well of the House and started shouting slogans against the government. The BJP and KJP members charged the government with being responsible for the death of the farmer, while the Congress members launched a counterattack by reminding them that two farmers had died in police firing in Haveri during the BJP regime.

Amid the din, the announcement of Rs. 10-lakh compensation for the deceased farmer was made and the House was adjourned for the day after observing a minute’s silence. Later, the BJP and KJP leaders announced that they would continue their dharna on Thursday.

JD(S) apart

Interestingly, the Janata Dal (Secular) desisted from staging a dharna. JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy said the party wanted to take up a debate to help shape up the pro-farmer policy to protect the interests of farmers rather than resorting to dharna. He accused other parties of trying to gain political mileage out of the farmer’s death.

All the three Opposition parties have announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased farmer.