Ruckus in Assembly over panel for beneficiaries

Anjaneya accused of trying to create rift among Scheduled Castes

Ruckus in Assembly over panel for beneficiaries

 The Legislative Assembly on Thursday witnessed an unseemly incident with Congress legislator P M Narendraswamy trying to assault Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya over the government's decision to set up taluk-level, non-official committees to select beneficiaries for various schemes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The minister’s comment that the legislators of various sub-castes within SCs – such as Bovi and Lambani - give priority to their own community people enraged Narendraswamy who charged at the minister.

But government Chief Whip P M Ashok stopped him and pacified him to resume his seat. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was not present in the
House when the incident took place.

“He (Anjaneya) is trying to create animosity among sub-castes. We will not tolerate it just because we are in the ruling party. How can the minister make such a serious allegation (that MLAs belonging to various sub-castes within SCs such as Bovi and Lambani give priority to their own community people). It appears that the minister does not know wh at he is doing. He should withdraw the circular immediately,” Narendraswamy demanded.

Former minister Narendraswamy and Social Welfare minister Anjaneya represent Malavalli and Holalkere Assembly constituencies respectively, both of which are reserved for SCs.

Opposition joins issue

The House witnessed commotion on the issue with members of Opposition parties, the BJP and the JD(S), staging a dharna in the well of the House.

Interestingly, several of the ruling party members too opposed the decision of the government saying that it will curtail the powers of MLAs. They demanded that the government should continue with the existing system of MLAs selecting the beneficiaries.

Opposition parties alleged that the decision to set up six-member non-official selection committee was aimed at accommodating the Congress workers at the local level.

Committees set up

“The government is setting up similar committees in Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department also. MLAs will be left with no power if the government implements its decision,” leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar said.

Bowing to the pressure, Anjaneya said the circular will be put on hold and he will take a decision after consulting the chief minister.

The selection panels are intended only at helping the MLAs and are not meant to curtail their powers, the minister defended.

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