Karnataka Assembly session to begin tomorrow

Karnataka legislature's first session in 2021 to begin January 28 with Governor address

This will be the first session after CM Yediyurappa expanded and reshuffled his Cabinet multiple times

Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru. Credit: DH File Photo

The first session of the Karnataka Legislature in the New Year, beginning on Thursday, is likely to be stormy as opposition parties are likely to corner the BJP government in the state, which is already battling resentment within after the recent cabinet rejig, on a host of issues.

The seven-day long session will begin with Governor Vajubhai Vala delivering the customary address to the joint sitting of the state legislature, and it is scheduled to conclude on February 5.

This will be the first session after Chief Minister Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet by inducting seven new ministers and reallocated portfolios among certain ministers.

Public expression of displeasure by some BJP legislators about the functioning of the government is expected to provide enough ammunition to the opposition parties that are planning to corner the ruling party on its handling of the Covid crisis, providing relief to flood-affected, and the state's economy.

The ongoing agitation by farmers against certain farm sector-related laws and lack of funds towards developmental activities are also likely to gain prominence during the session.

The contentious anti-cow slaughter legislation is once again expected to come to the fore with a bill to this effect that was passed by the legislative assembly yet to be taken up in the legislative council.

However, the state government has already promulgated the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance that provides for punishment on killing of cattle and offers protection to those "acting in good faith" to save them, to give effect to a bill that is pending.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of the session, Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri said new bills listed by the government along with those that were pending during the previous session will be taken up for consideration and passage.

Also the government has promulgated three ordinances so far and bills replacing them will be tabled during the session, he said.

All the necessary Covid related guidelines and safety measures that were in place during the previous session will be followed during this session too, he added.

The session comes at a time when there is strong resentment from aspirants within the BJP following Yediyurappa inducting seven new ministers into his cabinet and also regarding reallocation of portfolios among some ministers that underwent at least four rounds of changes, under pressure and threats of resignation.

Opposition parties are likely to latch on to open criticism of the government by some legislators, with the likes of Vijayapura City MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and MLC A H Vishwanath personally attacking the Chief Minister on his style of functioning, accusing him of making certain people ministers under threat of blackmail and also his son B Y Vijayendra's alleged interference in the administration.

The election for the post of Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the legislative council are also likely to take place during the session.

There are all indications that the incumbent Chairman K Pratapachandra Shetty, who is from the Congress, may resign soon, as the ruling BJP has moved a no-confidence motion against him which is likely to be supported by the JD (S).

The post of the Deputy Chairman has fallen vacant following the alleged death by suicide of S L Dharme Gowda from the JD(S) last month.

With leaders of both parties holding talks, there are all indications that the BJP and JD(S) are likely to join hands for the post of Council Chairman and Deputy Chairman.

The earlier move by both parties in December to remove Shetty as Chairman was not successful as their notice of no-confidence was rejected on technical grounds.

The House had witnessed high drama that day with the BJP-JDS and Congress members hurling abuses and pushing each other.

Amid the ruckus on December 15, the then Deputy Chairman Dharme Gowda was even pulled down from the Chair.

Currently, the ruling BJP is the single largest party in the Council with 31 seats, followed by Congress with 29 seats including the chairman, JD(S) 13, one independent and one vacant (due to death of Dharme Gowda).

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