Sticking firmly to his demand for extending Shaadi Bhagya scheme to all communities, Karnataka Janata Paksha president B.S. Yeddyurappa continued his 25-day-old dharna that was being staged in Bangalore, in Belgaum by launching an indefinite protest in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Mr. Yeddyurappa, who commenced the dharna in the well of the Assembly a little after the House met for the day, refused to come out even after the House was adjourned in the evening. Four of his party MLAs accompanied him.
Senior Ministers H.K. Patil and T.B. Jayachandra, who tried to convince him on behalf of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to drop the protest, told presspersons that Mr. Yeddyurappa had refused to withraw his dharna. “He wants the government to extend the scheme to all the communities and also immediately allocate funds to support the extension of the scheme. But it is not possible to allocate the funds now, and we have assured him of releasing funds by February 15, 2014, when the new budget will be presented,” Mr. Jayachandra said.
KJP working president Shobha Karandlaje told presspersons that Mr. Yeddyurappa would withdraw the dharna only if the Chief Minister formally announce extension of the scheme to all communities.
The Assembly Hall where Mr. Yeddyurappa is staging the dharna was closed to media persons soon after the House was adjourned. Sources in the government said that a medical check-up was conducted on him.
Mr. Yeddyurappa had commenced the dharna on October 31 in Bangalore.
Earlier in the day, he refused to budge even after fervent appeals by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition H.D. Kumaraswamy and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jagadish Shettar, besides leaders from Congress and Opposition parties to end the protest. Mr. Siddaramaiah told him the government would not stand on prestige and was prepared for discussion on the issue. “Being a senior member of the House, with knowledge of legislative norms, Mr. Yeddyurappa should withdraw his dharna and allow the House to function,” he said.
He said the Shaadi Bhagya was not a new programme, but an extension of the Bidai scheme that had been already announced in the budget in July. After a protracted debate, the budget had been passed and the government had issued the notification for the implementation of the scheme. The scheme had been drawn for minorities in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. There was no provision to extend it to other communities. “It is not right to attribute motives, such as dividing society for implementing the scheme,” he said.