Siddaramaiah to skip half of Belagavi session


Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah will miss at least half of the winter session of the legislature in Belagavi starting December 10, as he is flying to Malaysia on a personal visit.

His decision to skip the first five days of the legislature session, where the BJP has planned an offensive to corner the Congress-JD(S) coalition, has raised eyebrows in political circles.

Siddaramaiah, who heads the coalition coordination and monitoring committee, will be in Malaysia from December 10-14 to attend a wedding. “Don’t I have a personal life? Are you going to make this look like an offence,” he asked reporters in Mysuru on Saturday. “I’m going to attend a friend’s wedding,” he said.

The former chief minister’s Malaysia sojourn comes at a time when dissidence is brewing within the Congress over expansion of the Cabinet.

Also, by virtue of being the leader of the Congress on the floor of the House, Siddaramaiah was expected to defend the alliance partner JD(S), whose chief minister H D Kumaraswamy has been under Opposition fire on various issues concerning farmers and development, in general.

The winter session of legislature also comes at a time when Congress legislators have expressed displeasure over the way the coalition functions.

Incidentally, crisis has erupted each time Siddaramaiah has taken a break. For instance, in June this year, Siddaramaiah camped in Badami even as former minister M B Patil threatened to raise a banner of revolt.

Later in the same month, Siddaramaiah retreated to a naturopathy centre in Dharmasthala, where two of his videos criticising Kumaraswamy and doubting if the government would last, got leaked and created furore. In September, he went on a 10-day Europe tour, when the Jarkiholi brothers gave the Congress sleepless nights.

The CLP meeting, in which Kumaraswamy was expected to address miffed Congress MLAs, may be postponed in view of Siddaramaiah’s tour. The meeting was scheduled during the session.

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