Tough choices before Speaker

The Opposition as on Tuesday was not ready to settle for nothing but a CBI probe into the illegal mining over the years. But the chief minister has ruled out conceding the demand.

Then what are the options before the Speaker?

Officials sources said the Speaker may call a meeting of the floor leaders on Wednesday to request the Opposition members to withdraw their dharna again. He has announced that he would refer to the Friday’s unruly incidents, after the House was adjourned, to a House Committee, which is not acceptable to the Opposition.

Sources said the Speaker has several options before him to conduct the business including suspending the agitating members, so that the the treasury benches can complete the formalities of voting on the demands for grants to 27 departments. The government has taken a vote-on-account for four months while presenting the budget in March.

But the Speaker may not go to the extent of naming the agitating members and suspend them as the Opposition is strong in terms of numbers. In a House of 225 members, the combined strength of the Opposition is 101. The Speaker may also conduct the business even when the Opposition is staging a dharna. In 2005, the demands were passed when the Opposition was staging a dharna, sources said.

In addition, certain important bills are also pending before both the Houses of the Legislature. The ruling party may press for the passage of the same even in the absence of the Opposition.

On Tuesday, political bigwigs including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, MP Dharam Singh, former chief minister S Bangarappa interacted with the protesters to endorse their stand.

In the Assembly, the session was adjourned as soon as it met without any transactions, following the dharna. The Opposition raised slogans in support of their demand even as the Speaker repeatedly requested them to get back to their seat. The ruling party members made a vain bid to be heard. Within ten minutes, the House was adjourned for the day.

In the Council, the Opposition members entered the House with black scarfs and demanded the government to refer the mining scam to the CBI. Home Minister V S Acharya reiterated that the government will not heed to their demand. Following the dharna, the House was adjourned by Chairman Shankaramurthy.

The BJP Legislature Party meeting chaired by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa resolved not to concede to the Opposition parties’ demand for a CBI probe. The meeting also decided to adopt a “wait and watch” policy in a bid to exhaust and drain the Opposition. The BJP MLAs have been told to stay in Bangalore as long as the legislature session continues.

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