Opposition leaders get ready for showdown

(H D Kumaraswamy)(D K Shivakumar)

(H D Kumaraswamy)(D K Shivakumar)


Stormy monsoon session likely, Congress & JD(S) to corner CM

Bengaluru: The Karnataka legislature is set for a stormy Monsoon Session starting Monday as the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress brace for a showdown on a number of issues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 8-day session of the Assembly and Legislative Council in the Vidhana Soudha (Secretariat) from September 21-30 is likely to be stormy with the Opposition eyeing to corner the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government on a host of issues, including management of the pandemic, which has affected over 5.11 lakh people in the state. The Congress is likely to raise key issues such as the D J Halli violence, drugs scandal, law and order situation and the state's financial situation during the session.

The Assembly session will begin on Monday under the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic, amid unprecedented safety measures and restrictions, as several Ministers and legislators have tested positive for the infection. With 4 Cabinet Ministers -- Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, Basavaraj Bommai, Byrathi Basavaraj, K Gopalaiah -- and MoS Prabhu Chauhan testing coronavirus positive last week and quarantined for another 10 days, they will be absent along with a couple of ruling and opposition legislators who are also infected. Several legislators from both treasury and opposition sides have also tested positive. According to the legislature secretariat, both the assembly and the Legislative Council would meet at 11 am.

Though the Monsoon Session was to be held in July for passing a few amendment Bills and transacting other government business, the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state forced the BJP government to postpone it to September. There are 10 new bills, 19 ordinances and two bills pending from the previous session that are likely to be taken up during the session. As the state amended the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and the Land Reforms Act through ordinances in May, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Maduswamy will move the Bills pertaining to the ordinances to amend the respective Acts.

Since the Congress and regional outfit JD-S are opposed to the Bills which they dubbed to be against farmers and traders, the state government is bracing up for a showdown with the opposition, which sought their withdrawal in the interest of farmers and other stakeholders.

"As the session is for a short duration (8 days), the Bills will be moved on Monday after the customary obituary references to those who died since March, including former President Pranab Mukherjee (August 31), former JD-S MLA Appaji Gowda from Bhadravathi (September 3) and JD-S legislator B Sathyanarayana (August 5) due to Covid," said the official.

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