BJP goes on offensive, plans to defeat finance bill

BJP goes on offensive, plans to defeat finance bill

Every member counts: Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara appears to be giving a count of the Congress legislators who gave the legislature session a miss to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Ten coalition legislators failed to tur

A defiant BJP has decided to go for the kill and topple the coalition government before the completion of the Budget session.

It is now looking at defeating the finance bill by seeking a division of votes when it is placed before the Assembly for adoption. The BJP, which has been trying to turn the political turmoil in the Congress camp to its advantage, made its intentions clear on the opening day of the Budget session by disrupting Governor Vajubhai Vala’s address to the joint sitting of the state legislature.

“We do not want a bundle of lies to be read. Down, down... the government that has lost majority and trust,” the BJP members shouted from the well of the House. As the BJP’s protest intensified, the Governor said he is concluding his address, and it should be deemed as read.

As many as 10 coalition MLAs absented themselves from the session despite being issued a whip. As expected, four disgruntled MLAs — Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Umesh G Jadhav (Chincholi), B Nagendra (Bellary), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani) — who have all been issued show cause notices by the Congress, did not attend the session.

Two Independent MLAs H Nagesh (Mulbagal) and R Shankar (Ranebennur), who have withdrawn support to the government, too were not to be seen.

Kampli MLA J N Ganesh, who is facing attempt to murder charges for attacking Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh, too gave the session a miss. The police are yet to arrest the MLA.

Hirekerur MLA B C Patil, who has been vocal about his disgruntlement, too gave the first day of the session a miss keeping the ruling coalition on tenterhooks.

In a final call to disgruntled legislators, Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said they would face action under the anti-defection law if they skipped the legislature party meeting convened on February 8 when Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is slated to present the 2019-20 state Budget.

For its part, the BJP is keeping several options open. One is to make ruling party members vote against the Budget when it is taken up for adoption. If the BJP manages to secure more votes and the finance bill is defeated, then the chief minister will have no option but to step down. Another option is to get at least nine “disgruntled” legislators to resign and bring down the total strength of the Assembly. The BJP is likely to continue its protest in the well of the House on Thursday.

The BJP too is apprehensive that the coalition partners may launch a counter-offensive against the party by luring some of its MLAs. The party is keeping a close watch on its legislators. 

Speaking to reporters, BJP state president and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly B S Yeddyurappa reiterated that his party would not move the no-confidence motion against the coalition government.