Endowments bill defeated by a single vote in Assembly

Endowments bill defeated by a single vote in Assembly

Opposition catches govt off guard with support of 4 independents

The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2011 was defeated by one vote when the Congress, taking advantage of the poor attendance at the treasury benches, pressed for division.

The Opposition’s move came after Muzrai Minister V S Acharya refused to accept their demand and for deferring the bill to next session so that they could study its provisions.

The Congress strategy paid off as the ruling party secured 33 votes while the Opposition got 34 votes, including that of four Independents.

The defeat of the bill comes ahead of the crucial bypoll to the Legislative Council, scheduled for December 22, the result of which will decide the fate of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.

The BJP has strength of 119 in the 224-member House excluding the Speaker and the nominated member.  However, the ruling dispensation was taken totally off-guard by the Opposition instance for a division. The amendment bill, which has already been passed in the Legislative Council, proposed to remove certain difficulties in implementing the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 and omit some overlapping provisions.

Request to defer passage

When Acharya moved the bill for consideration, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah and several Congress members requested Speaker K G Bopaiah to defer its passage.

“The bill has only been given to us today. We need time to study the provisions. Please defer the bill. Why this tearing hurry,” Siddaramaiah said. Acharya, insisted that the amendments proposed in the bill are only minor in nature. Siddaramaiah pointed out to the government’s move to keep out temples attached to mutts  out of the purview of  the legislation had far reaching consequences and required a comprehensive study and discussion.

He pointed out that government has transferred the Krishna temple in Udupi to Ashtamutts and Gokarna temple to Ramachandrapura Mutt.

The government’s decision to transfer the Krishna temple was against the verdict of the Supreme Court, which has given a ruling that the temple should remain a public domain, Siddaramaiah said.

An adamant Acharya  continued to insist that the bill be passed. Taking advantage of the thin attendance at the treasury benches, Siddaramaiah pressed for division.

Chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda and several Cabinet ministers were not present when the bill was defeated. Chief Whip Siddu Savadi was not in the House. Former chief minister  B S Yeddyurappa and BJP State President K S Eshwarappa were present.

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