An emotional end to session

With ULB polls round the corner, many MLAs sign off with grim faces

Goodbyes usually hurt. But they may not be the end. And this could be true with many MLAs of the State who walked out of the Legislative Assembly on Friday, the final day of the last session of the 13th Legislative Assembly.

Some made dispassionate and emotional statements, some walked out with a grim face apparently worried whether they will be able to enter the august House again.

Elections to the State Assembly are likely to be held in May. The last day also saw some of the senior members expressing concern over the increasing money and muscle power in politics. The announcement of elections to the urban local bodies has come as a shocker to the legislators.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who has completed seven months in office, in his last speech to the Assembly said the ruling party would complete its full term. “This may be the last day of the session, but the government will continue till May-end. We cannot call it the last session as we may have to meet again in the coming days, if necessary,” he said.

Shettar, the third chief minister of the BJP government since 2008, was on tenterhooks from the time he assumed office because he was not sure his government would survive till February and that he would present the budget for the coming year. Somehow, he has met both the challenges.

The 13th Assembly will go down in the history of the State Legislature as the most tumultuous, with controversies rocking it frequently. Be it the disqualification of MLAs, the ugly fist-fights over illegal mining, and the heated discussions on ‘Operation Lotus’, MLAs facing serious charges — the House witnessed them all.

Speaker K G Bopaiah, who was in the centre of a controversy almost throughout his term, thanked one and all for co-operating with him in conducting the House. He said he would pray to Goddess Cauvery for the wellbeing and re-election of all the MLAs in the next elections. He adjourned the House sine die.

The last sitting of the 13th Assembly, however, had thin attendance with a majority of the members on both the ruling and Opposition benches staying away. Of the total strength of 211, about 51 legislators were present in the House in the evening. Prominent among the absentees were Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, JD(S) floor leader H D Revanna and Deputy Chief Ministers K S Eshwarappa and R Ashoka.

The day began with barely 30 legislators in the House. Speaker Bopaiah had to let several of  the 22 call attention notices listed in the agenda lapse due to the absence of members. The members who attended the House seemed more preoccupied with the impact of the imminent polls to the urban local bodies on their political prospects in the Assembly election scheduled to be held soon after.

JD(S) leader Revanna left the House soon after getting replies to five of his call-attention notices. “See you in the next Assembly,” he said waving to the press gallery.
Most of the JD(S) MLAs were away in Arsikere attending the marriage of party MLA K M Shivalinge Gowda’s son.

The House is left with just five women MLAs after the resignation of Shobha Karandlaje. Of these, only three were seen on the last day.

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