MLAs in no mood to junk the junket

Wait eagerly for trip to South America; dates not finalised yet

A batch of 18 members from the Estimates Committee of the Assembly is likely to visit the three South American countries of Brazil, Argentina and Peru in the coming days. 

This despite criticism against MLAs going on junkets to foreign countries.

While reports suggest that the trip is more of an ‘excursion’ than what is claimed to be a ‘study tour,’ Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa said that almost all members were waiting for the opportunity to embark on the trip.

“It is a precedence set by the previous regimes. I cannot interfere in these matters. Almost all the members are ready to go on this study tour,” said Thimmappa.

One dissenting voice among the committee members is that of Vishwanath Patil from the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP). The Bailahongal MLA said that he was new to public life and was concentrating more on his constituency than going on the tour. 

On whether his decision had something to do with the controversy that may arise out of the tour, Patil said: “We have seen time and again what has happened in the public domain when legislators went on study tours. I wish to stay away and work for my constituency.”

Former Speaker and BJP MLA K G Bopaiah said that the dates are still not finalised. “It is speculated that the tour may be organised in January 2014. But with the impending joint session, it is highly unlikely. 

“If postponed to February, dates for the Lok Sabha polls may be announced. In all probability, it may never happen,” he said.

Bopaiah did not clearly say whether he will go on the ‘study tour’ or not. 

If the MLAs do go on the tour, it should not raise eyebrows as there is no drought or flood situation in the State this year, he said.

The Speaker said that the MLAs will be expected to give a detailed report on what they learn in these countries.
 “If need be, based on the report, I will advise them on the pros and cons of such study tours,” said Thimmappa.

During the previous BJP regime, study tours raised a lot of controversy due to the severe drought in 2010 and 2011. 

In fact, a couple of the tours were cancelled by the BJP government.

The Estimates Committee has four members from JD(S), four members from BJP and one from KJP and nine from the Congress.

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