The ten-day long monsoon session of the Karnataka Legislature that will begin at Vidhana Soudha here from Monday, is likely to be stormy, as opposition parties have geared up to corner the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government on a host of issues like corruption charges, alleged scams, rains, and infrastructure woes among others.
This session that will go on till September 23, is important as it has come at a time when political parties have begun preparations for the Assembly polls, expected to be held by March-April next year.
Renewed 40 per cent commission charge by the state contractors association in public works, especially naming Minister Munirathna, also allegations of corruption in education and other departments are likely to be raised by the opposition parties in the House to target and further embarrass the government.
They are likely demanding a judicial probe for the truth to come out and fixing of responsibilities.
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Bengaluru’s infrastructure woes that were exposed by the havoc created by recent torrential rains and floods caused by it, damaging properties and affecting normal life in different parts of the city, also claims that ”Brand Bengaluru” has taken a hit with city’s famed IT industry facing brunt, is likely to play out as a major ammunition for the opposition against the government, amid palpable public anger.
Also, damage caused by rains and floods in different parts of the state since June, causing large-scale damage to life, crops and properties, and alleged delay on part of the government to address their concerns and providing relief to those affected is likely to come under intense scrutiny, during the session.
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah has already said that he will raise all these issues on the floor of the Assembly and seek answers from the government, as he also has demanded a white paper regarding clearing of encroachments and infrastructural worries of Bengaluru city.
On its part, the government also seems to be prepared to counter the opposition by raising several alleged scams that took place during their, especially Congress’ tenure. Chief Minister Bommai and BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi among others have already indicated this.
They are likely to seek evidence regarding 40 per cent commission against the administration and try to defend it by terming the allegations as baseless and a conspiracy on part of the Congress, by pointing at Minister Munirathna suing the contractors’ association with defamation.
Recent incidents and issues of communal flare-ups like killing of couple of Hindu activists also Muslim youths in coastal districts and Shivamogga and subsequent probe, Idgah Maidan row, V D Savarkar related controversy, alleged saffronisation of the education system among others are also likely to be raised during the session.
While the opposition may target the government, accusing it of failing in maintaining law and order and instead supporting communal elements, the ruling BJP is likely to counter it by alleging the opposition of indulging in appeasement politics.
Lack of clarity on cabinet expansion or rejig, speculations about overhaul in the BJP and the cabinet, which has become a perennial issue for CM Bommai, is likely to continue to haunt him during this session too, amid pressure from within the party in this regard.
Statements by some Ministers like the one by Law Minister J C Madhuswamy that ”We are not running a government here, we are just managing, pulling through for the next 7-8 months,” is likely to be used by the opposition to embarrass the government, while the alleged ”rude behaviour” by BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali against a woman in his constituency may also be raised.
The state government may also come under scrutiny on a host of issues regarding central schemes and projects, demand on reservation by some communities, delay in holding Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike polls among others, as the treasury benches plan to bring in several new bill including the one indicated by CM Bommai recently regarding managing Bengaluru’s traffic.
The session is also likely to witness election for new Chairman in the Legislative Council, following Basavaraj Horatti’s tenure ending as MLC. He has been re-elected as MLC for a record eighth term, this time from the BJP. Following his exit as Chairman, senior BJP MLC Raghunath Rao Malkapure has been officiating as the pro-tem Chairman.
Both the treasury and opposition benches are likely to firmly project their stand for public cause and their issues inside the House, during the session, with elections fast approaching, as they also prepare for state-wide rallies, marches and events outside, to highlight and improve their visibility on public issues.
While the ruling BJP is organising ”Janaspandana” rallies and state-wide travel by its leaders to highlight the achievements of the government, the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi is likely to enter the state on September 30.