“Stop roaming around and learn to sit through the proceedings of the Legislature.”
This was Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s first lesson to the first-time legislators at a training camp organised by the Legislature Secretariat on Friday.
Speaking after inaugurating the camp, Siddaramaiah said legislators have to learn from experience. For this, they should first learn to sit through the proceedings and listen. “But I have observed that most of the backbenchers (mostly first-time legislators) do not come to the House at all,” he added.
Ironically, of the 63 first-time MLAs and 31 MLCs invited for the two-day camp, only 49 MLAs and 11 MLCs attended it.
Normally, only two or three legislators take part in the debate on a bill in the House. Many legislators are not present in the House at the time of approving bills.
Even ministers are not available. If the Opposition seeks division of votes on a bill, then the government chief whip will be in a tizzy, he said. The time has come for the legislators to discipline themselves, he added.
He said Vatal Nagaraj of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha was a sincere legislator who used to sit through the proceedings of the entire day. He is no more an MLA.
“Delivering a speech in public and speaking in the House are two different things. One has to make a thorough preparation to debate in the House. In-depth knowledge of various issues and the rules of House proceedings are necessary for one to successfully accomplish this. Legislators should, therefore, make it a habit to spend some time in library,” the chief minister said.
Elected representatives should actively take part in all democratic processes. A minister should spend time at the Vidhana Soudha at least three days a week, clear files and meet people.
Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa urged the legislators to take part in the legislature proceedings. “For this, commitment is important. It is better to think you are still a student. Then, learning becomes easier,” he said.
Both Thimmappa and Siddaramaiah said steps would be taken to hold the Legislature session for at least 60 days from next year. “Though it is mandatory to conduct the session for at least two months in a year, it has not been done in the last few years. But from next year, the rules will be followed strictly, they said.