Monsoon session of Karnataka legislature cut short due to Covid-19
Opposition slams Yediyurappa, want Assembly session to be extended
Bengaluru: The eight-day long monsoon session of Karnataka legislature that began on Monday will now be curtailed by two days, due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The assembly session that was scheduled till September 30, will now be for six days till September 26, including Saturday, which is otherwise a holiday, official sources said. During the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting of the Karnataka legislative assembly today, there was no consensus between the opposition and the ruling side on holding question hour, with the government insisting on tabling the answers.
Confirming about curtailing the session, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Siddaramaiah, emerging from the BAC meeting, said it has been decided to cut short the session by two days, and it will now be held for five more days till Saturday.
"The session will now also take place on Saturday, following our demand, and the House will meet early, at 10 am every day, thereby ensuring that the House sits for extra hours to transact the business," he said. According to Siddaramaiah, Yediyurappa at the meeting suggested that as parliament session is likely to be curtailed and similar decision has been taken by several state assemblies, "we should also curtail it, after discussing key bills, but the Congress did not agree to it." "I and our colleagues said there are about 40 bills including some ordinances, we cannot agree to all of them without proper discussion, because they are of public importance, and they (government) have agreed to it," he said.
The Law Minister, Speaker and Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda will prepare a list of important bills and ordinance that need to be discussed,he added. Siddaramaiah also made it clear that opposition will oppose ordinance amending APMC and land reforms act and labour laws, terming them "anti-people." According to sources, there has been some agreement regarding discussion on six key bills. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had hinted about curtailing the eight-day session, saying he will discuss with opposition leaders about ending it soon after discussion on important necessary issues, due to the COVID pandemic.
The Chief Minister had even held discussions with the other party leaders about the government's plans to curtail the session for three days, but the opposition made it clear that it cannot be agreed upon if key and contentious bills are tabled, sources said.
Many legislators, including ministers, have tested positive for COVID-19. State Congress president D K Shivakumar, who was also part of the meeting, said his party did not agree to the government's plan to curtail the session for three days, and also stood adamant demanding that the question hour should be held, "as our MLAs have put 1,600 questions." He also said it was under his party's instance to follow the set traditions that the government agreed to adjourn the session today in mark of respect to JD(S)' sitting MLA B Sathyanarayana, who passed away recently. The monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature began on Monday under the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, amid unprecedented safety measures and restrictions, even as several Ministers and legislators have tested positive for the infection. The assembly met at 11 am and paid obituary references to leaders and prominent personalities who died while the session was in recess. It also paid tributes to Galwan valley martyrs and COVID victims and health workers. Following the obituary reference, the House was adjourned for lunch and it was then adjourned for the day as a mark of respect for the departed.