Budget session opens to a half-empty House

Yeddyurappa skips Acharya homage too

The crisis in the ruling BJP was well reflected in the Legislative Assembly on the opening day of the budget session on Tuesday. Hardly 45 BJP MLAs were present and the combined strength of the Opposition parties was about 52.

Poor show: BJP State chief K S Eshwarappa, MLA Srinivas and Minister Jagadish Shettar were among the few from the ruling party who attended the session on Tuesday. dh photo

Leave alone ministers, even Chief Whip Siddu Savadi was not present in the House.

Of the 23 ministers, including Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, in the Cabinet, only 14 were present.

As many as 70 legislators in the Yeddyurappa camp kept off, while only two senior ministers attended the House to pay homage to BJP senior leader V S Acharya.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar and PWD Minister C M Udasi, MLAs Chandrakanth Bellad and Krishnaiah Setty from Camp Yeddyurappa sat through the session, which lasted for two-and-half hours. 

The legislature had only one agenda - to pay homage to Acharya, who died on February 14 while attending an official function in his capacity as higher education minister. Acharya, a stickler to rules, had served the party in various capacities for nearly four decades.

However, Yeddyurappa had no time to pay homage to his one-time guide as he confined himself to a luxury resort, pressing the party central leaders for a suitable position. Shettar, unmindful of the instruction issued by Yeddyurappa to keep off, attended the session and paid tributes to Acharya.
Sadananda Gowda had to face the jibes of the Congress for the poor attendance of the BJP members in both the Houses of the Legislature.

Seeing the empty Treasury Benches, Opposition Leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah said Gowda should resign as he had lost the ‘confidence’ of the House, and Karnataka was facing a constitutional crisis. 

He also took serious objection for not allowing Question Hour.

In response, Gowda said: “I am not denying that there are certain issues within the party. But, let us pay homage to Acharya. I am not going to run away from the House.”

In the Council, Leader of Opposition Motamma took a dig at the BJP’s ‘resort politics’ and asked if the government still existed.

The BJP members argued that the internal matters of the party should not be discussed in the House.

The Congress wanted to know why a good number of ministers were absent, and said that the ruling party indulged in caste politics.

In his reply, Gowda said the concern of the Opposition is fair indeed, but, the resort meeting is the party’s internal matter and that would not affect the Council proceedings.

Right man in wrong party

The Congress leaders, during the obituary reference, said Acharya was a ‘right man in a wrong party’.

They criticised Yeddyurappa for not paying tribute to the former minister in the House.
Siddaramaiah said BJP had lost its “intelligent” politician. “It’s regrettable. He was a right man in a wrong party,” he said.

Congress MLA Srinivas Prasad said it was also unfortunate that Acharya who had concertedly built the BJP in the State, was forced to stand by and watch the party crumble ever since it came to power.

BJP MLA Shankarlinge Gowda too slammed Yeddyurappa for his absence.

“He should have left his politicking and come and paid his tribute to Acharya. He has shown utter disrespect to the former minister,” he added.

The chief minister said Acharya was former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s “most favourite” Karnataka politician. Eshwarappa said Acharya was a true social reformer. The Council too paid tributes to Acharya.

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