Dream job: MLAs worked for only 31 days in 2010

In the past, it was tough; in the innocent days of 1963, they worked for 98 days

Dream job: MLAs worked for only 31 days in 2010

Despite assurances from the Chief Minister and the Speaker to conduct the sittings at least for 60 days in a year, the sittings did not cross 31 days. The Assembly met for 31 days, while the Council met for only 29 days. The Assembly met for two days more than the Council in October, to enable the Chief Minister to prove his majority.

The Legislature will not be meeting during 2010 anymore, as Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has said that the session would be convened in Belgaum after the local body elections.

Even if the poll was not announced, the Chief Minister would probably have been reluctant to convene the session at this juncture because of the land scam allegations he is facing. It would have been too hot for the Chief Minister to handle the Opposition.

But 2010 is not the only year with the least number of sittings. In 1971, both the Houses met only for four days. There were years when the legislature met for more than 90 days in a year. In 1963, Assembly met for 98 days, while the Council assembled for 88 days. In 1961, the Assembly met for 92 days and the Council for 84 days.

The legislature is meant to draw legislations or enact laws, review the laws in effect and debate issues concerning people.

In the last two years, the script has been repetitive. The Oppostion would raise the issue of illegal mining issue in the House and the Treasury benches would counter with some heavy duty statistics.

This year, whenever the House met, members either exchanged allegations, or threatened to get physical. The Speaker had to constitute two House committees to probe into ruckus created in the Assembly hall.

Opposition parties staged an overnight protest in the Assembly demanding a CBI probe into alleged illegal mining in Bellary. They also boycotted the proceedings in July prompting the ruling party to get important bills passed, including controversial private university bills - Alliance University bill and Sanskrit University bill - without the presence of the Opposition.

The government promulgated ordinances on crucial issues - capping of reservation in local bodies to 50 percent and reorganisation of food and civil supplies department in Bangalore as the House has not assembled since July this year.

For the first time in the history of Karnataka legislature, uniformed police entered the hall, on October 11 when Yeddyurappa was taking the floor test. Two House committees are inquiring into unruling scenes in the Assembly.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar had brought out a booklet advising elected members on their conduct in the legislature. It is an irony that his government gave the legislators hardly 31 days this year to emulate that advice.

Fewest sittings

Year    No of sittings
       Assembly/Council

1971      04/04
1989      21/21
1992      38/04
1999      39/39
2004      23/35
2010      31/29

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