Karnataka budget session likely to be stormy

 With former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa revolting against the party at the fag end of the fiscal, the BJP faces a grave threat to its government.

gearing up: Preparations are in full swing on Monday for the State Budget session at  the Vidhana Soudha. dh photo

The party may end up losing its first-ever government in South India if the rebel camp does not co-operate with it in securing the approval of the State Legislature for the coming year’s budget.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda may not find it difficult to present 2012-13 budget in the Legislature on March 21 at 12 noon. He only has to have quorum (1/10th of the House strength which is about 23 members) to present the budget proposals. But securing the approval would be crucial, officials in the State Legislature said.

The budget approval includes two important processes: securing approvals for the motion of grants and the Appropriation bill. As Gowda has already announced that he would seek vote on account for three months, he would seek approval for the motion of grants combining all departments.

Normally, such a motion is passed with a voice vote as the ruling party usually has an upper hand in the House.

The officials said if the Yeddyurappa camp stays away and the combined Opposition demands for division of votes, Gowda may land in trouble. Under division of votes, the number of MLAs for and against the motion will be considered. Only those who are present in the House at that point in time will be considered.

Yeddyurappa has been claiming the support of about 60 BJP MLAs. The strength of the combined Opposition (Congress and JD-S) is 97, and there are also six Independent MLAs in the House.

If the Opposition succeeds in defeating the motion, the government will not be able to draw money from the Consolidated Fund of Karnataka to run the administration from April 1, the beginning of the new financial year, the officials said.

The defeat of the Finance bill is, in political jargon, considered the collapse of administration.

It warrants the intervention of the Governor, who can either co-operate with the government by promulgating an ordinance to appropriate funds or recommend imposition of President’s rule by describing the situation as collapse of administration.

Official sources in the chief minister’s office said Sadananda Gowda has finalised the budget proposals for 2012-13.

Gowda, who held a meeting with the Finance department officials at his official residence Anugraha, gave final touches to some important schemes in the budget.

The budget session is scheduled to commence at 11 am on Tuesday.
Both Houses are likely to be adjourned after paying tributes to former minister V S Acharya, who died recently.

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