Leaders face off over ‘locked-up Vidhana Soudha’

With several Ministers, starting with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, concentrating all their efforts on the bypoll-bound constituencies of Sindgi and Hangal, there have been complaints about governance taking a back seat.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar said the BJP Government had “locked up the Vidhana Soudha” as the “entire Cabinet was camping in the two constituencies to win the bypolls and there was no functioning government left”. He argued that this indicated that the saffron party “feared defeat” in the polls.

However, Mr. Bommai, speaking on the sidelines of his campaign in Sindgi constituency, said the allegation was unfounded. “Every two or three days, Ministers are attending their office. No Government work is pending or delayed. I have given all the necessary instructions to the Ministers,” he said.

State of the flood-hit

Meanwhile, residents of North Karnataka, especially those in flood-hit areas, have been raising complaints about works slowing down ever since the announcement of the bypolls.

“Our house was washed away in the floods of 2019, but we did not get any compensation. Six farmers from our village submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister when he visited Belagavi in September. He assured us that a resurvey would be ordered and compensation released. But we have not received any intimation from either the Chief Minister’s Office or the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Belagavi. When I went to the DC’s office, the officials told me all the Ministers and officers were busy in bypoll work and no orders for resurvey were issued,” said Gundappa Satoli.

Sidagouda Modagi, farmers’ leader and Krishik Samaj president, concurred that official apathy had increased since the bypolls were announced. “We have been agitating for a revised fair and remunerative price for sugarcane. But the Ministers concerned are yet to respond. We have also been demanding the immediate release of all sugarcane arrears. The Ministers have not held any meetings about these issues,” he said.

Students complain

Mahantesh Bilur, a student leader, said that the Government had failed to take definitive action on several issues concerning students. “There is no clarity on the extension or renewal of bus passes. The student community across Karnataka is confused about the issue. Students and colleges have been asked to file bus pass applications online. This is taking a lot of time. The Government has neither simplified the process nor issued clear directions to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation,” he said.

He also named “confusion over the National Education Policy” and the sorry state of hostels without timely release of funds as other unresolved issues amid the bypolls. “All this is because Ministers and officers are not taking decisions on time. We are organising a protest in the districts on Wednesday,” Mr. Bilur said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 10:55:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/leaders-face-off-over-locked-up-vidhana-soudha/article37170379.ece

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