Dress code, Mekedatu issues likely to resonate in session

Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri speaking to personnel of the Equestrian Squad at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri speaking to personnel of the Equestrian Squad at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Saturday.

The legislature session starting Monday, amidst the row over dress code in classrooms that has spread across the State, is expected to be stormy with the Opposition set to raise heat over this and a slew of other issues.

The pending Mekedatu project, inter-State river linking projects, and delay in roadworks in Bengaluru and allegations of “40% commission” for Government works are among those likely to be raised.

The legislature session would begin with address by Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot to members of both Houses on Monday and will continue till February 25.

The session is also likely to witness heated debate on other key issues such as alleged discrimination in release of funds by the Government to Congress and JD(S) legislators, alleged step-motherly treatment meted out to Karnataka in release of funds under the GST by the Centre, delay in holding elections to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, zilla and taluk panchayats.

To chalk out the party’s strategy during the session, Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah has called a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Monday. All senior legislators, including D.K. Shivakumar, B.K. Hariprasad, M.B. Patil, U.T. Khader, Saleem Ahmed, and Ramalinga Reddy, are expected to participate. The JD(S) too is expected to hold its legislators’ meeting on Monday.

With leaders already indulging in a verbal duel over the hijab-saffron shawl row for the past one week, both Congress and JD(S) members are likely to question the Government’s failure in maintaining law and order on college campuses and demand an explanation from the Government on declaration of holidays for PU and degree colleges till February 16. Sources in the Congress said the party would raise the hijab controversy issue in the Assembly, though the matter is pending before the High Court of Karnataka.

The Mekedatu project is another key issue that is likely to find voice in the legislature. The Congress suspended the padayatra seeking implementation of the Mekedatu project, a balancing reservoir in the Cauvery basin, following High Court observations during surge in COVID-19 cases in the second week of January. Congress leaders charge that despite several visits to Delhi, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has not been able to get clearances to the project.

The Government is likely claim credit for controlling the spread of the third wave COVID-19 by implementing strict measures well ahead of other States.

Electoral reforms

Meanwhile, Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri on Saturday said that he would explore the possibility of allocating two days exclusively for discussion on electoral reforms during the session, which is likely to be opposed by the Opposition. Mr. Kageri said that he will take up the issue with the floor leaders of all parties in the Business Advisory Committee committee and finalise the dates for the discussion. “I have requested the Council Chairman also to take up the matter for discussion in the Upper House,” he said.

The Assembly Secretariat, which has received two Bills — Karnataka Stamps (Amendment) Bill and Criminal Law (Amendment) and 2062 questions — would be tabled during the session.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 3:35:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dress-code-mekedatu-issues-likely-to-resonate-in-session-starting-tomorrow/article38420787.ece