Opposition set to corner Siddaramaiah govt in Belagavi session

Opposition set to corner Siddaramaiah govt in Belagavi session

The Winter Session of Karnataka legislature beginning here on Monday is expected to be stormy as the opposition seeks to corner the Siddaramaiah government on a host of issues, including the demand for Minister K J George's resignation.

This will be the last session at Belagavi for the 14th Assembly, as polls are due early next year. During the ten-day long session, other than demand for George's resignation, Income Tax Department raids on properties linked to senior Minister D K Shivakumar is also likely to come up, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accusing BJP-led Union government of using the department to woo him into the party fold.

Issues that may also come up include demand for separate religion status to the dominant Lingayats as the session is being held in north Karnataka where the community's presence is predominant, and Mahadayi water-sharing dispute with neighbouring Goa.

Among the bills, 'The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017' is likely to be discussed as Law Minister T B Jayachandra after Cabinet's approval had said that "It will be tabled in the next session."

Also expected is discussions on "Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill," against which private Doctors have announced 'Belagavi Chalo,' a protest march during the session. The doctors contend that the provisions of the bill are too harsh on them.

Among various issues on which opposition is set to target the government ahead of elections, next year, are farmers issue, especially concerning sugarcane growers.

Speaking to reporters here ahead of the session, Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad said his intention is to give "priority" to issues pertaining to north Karnataka region, where the session is being held.

On the issue of attendance of the members, he said, "I can only request them to actively participate, they are responsible representatives of the people... there is no law for this, I can request."

Stating that including 10 days of the current session, totally the House would have met for 40 days during the current year, Koliwad said his wish was for 90 days session with 45 days each in Bengaluru and Belagavi.

He said the finance department has approved Rs 21 crore for the Winter Session and based on the request of various departments including the police to make necessary arrangements, a request has been made for additional Rs 5 crore.

Expressing "sadness" over Suvarna Vidhana Soudha remaining non functional for the rest of the year, other than during the session once a year, Speaker Koliwad said his wish was to make it function for 365 days by shifting some departments here. "It is left to executive."

District administration and the police have made elaborate security arrangements for the session with over 5,000 police personnel being deployed along with bomb disposal and other forces, officials said.


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