Acrimony, drama, action mark Belagavi session

Acrimony, drama, action mark Belagavi session

Protests, incidents of watching images and videos on mobile phones inside the House and mud-slinging over corruption charges dominated the 10-day winter session of the legislature that concluded here on Saturday.

The session began with protest and ended with protest. The BJP staged a protest both in and outside the House over problems of sugar cane farmers. The party members threatened to stall the proceedings demanding that the issue should be taken up for discussion immediately on Day One. Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa led the protest in front of Suvarna Soudha. Various associations of farmers also staged a protest there.

Though the government subsequently agreed for a discussion, opposition parties again took to agitation in the House as they were not satisfied with the government’s reply. Almost three days were dedicated for discussion on sugar cane issue alone, but, ironically, nothing concrete emerged of it to bail out farmers in distress.

The ruling party, which was in the defensive over the sugar cane issue, went on the offensive as BJP’s Prabhu Chavan was caught watching an image of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on his phone in the Assembly. The BJP tried to counter the Congress by raising the issue of Housing Minister M H Ambareesh and Congress MLA S S Mallikarjun watching a video on a phone. The Congress and the BJP stalled the proceedings for one full day on the issue.

The issue resulted in Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa banning mobile phones in the House. Chavan was suspended from the House for a day and Ambareesh and Mallikarjun were issued warnings.

However, both the Houses discussed in detail about the development of north Karnataka. For, they feared that they would face the wrath of people of north Karnataka if they do not discuss the issue. The BJP even deferred the protest it had taken up, over charges of corruption against Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, Minorities Development Minister Qamarul Islam and Cooperation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad and chose to participate in the discussion on north Karnataka. The Assembly held the discussion for almost two days.

But opposition parties criticised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for not announcing any new projects for north Karnataka and termed his lengthy, three-hour reply a drab.
The Assembly also discussed at length the issue of shortage in supply of sand and illegal sand mining.

The BJP went full throttle against the government on the two days over corruption charges against the three ministers.

The party stalled the proceedings, demanding a discussion. The BJP, in both Houses, also demanded the resignation of these ministers. Altogether 11 bills were passed during the session, including one to impose tax on telecommunication towers and allow mining of minor minerals on agriculture land under Section 109 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act.
Both the Houses also withdrew two controversial bills that were introduced by the previous BJP government to impose a strict ban on cow slaughter.

CM satisfied
Siddaramaiah, however, said he was satisfied with the proceedings of the session. “It would have been much better had the BJP not staged protests and cooperated with the government. Lot more issues could have been discussed if there were no protests,” he said.

Shettar said the concrete solutions to problems of north Karnataka did not emerge due to the government’s adamant stand. The chief minister held the session just for the sake of it. The government lacks commitment to the development of north Karnataka, he charged.

The JD(S), on the other hand, blamed both the national parties for stalling the proceedings.

The BJP and the Congress held protests for publicity. They should take the responsibility for not finding any solution to problems of north Karnataka, party leader Y S V Datta said.

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