Boycott by Opposition takes sheen out of legislative session in K’taka

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Boycott by Opposition takes sheen out of legislative session in K’taka
Bengaluru:  The Karnataka Assembly as well as the lounge wore a deserted look with both the Opposition parties, Congress and Janata Dal (S), sticking to their stand of boycotting the legislative session on Thursday after the ruling BJP on Wednesday pushed through the contentious Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2020, popularly known as the anti-cow slaughter Bill in the state.

The contentious Bill was passed in the Assembly on Wednesday evening after it was tabled hurriedly when Opposition party members were busy discussing the supplementary budget.

Taking umbrage over this sudden move, Congress members led by leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah, had trooped into the well of House in front of the Speaker. After the passage of the Bill, Siddaramaiah had announced that the Congress has decided to boycott the remaining part of the legislative session. Following the COngress, the JD(S) too staged a walk out.

On Thursday morning, Congress legislators had arrived at the Vidhan Soudha to take part in the legislative party meeting convened by Siddarmaiah, but refused to attend the session.

Though the Speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes to convince the Congress leaders to withdraw their decision and join the session, the party stuck to its announcement.

The ongoing seven-day long winter session began on December 7. But it was truncated to four days on the very next day itself owing to pressure from political parties, with several legislators remaining busy with the ongoing elections to more than 5,600 gram panchayats in the state.

When the Assembly was convened at 10:45 am on Thursday, Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kaageri, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy and Revenue Minister R. Ashoka made fervent appeal to their counterparts from the floor of the House, stating that the BJP did not “deceive” or “mislead” the Opposition leaders in any way. The session was adjourned for a short while only to invite the Congress leaders to join the proceedings.

Kaageri on his part said that he did not mislead the House in any way. “My statement in the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) or in the Assembly has remained the same. I had made it clear in the BAC itself that it would be appropriate to take up important bills and matters as we are truncating the session by three days, which was duly agreed by the Opposition parties as well. Therefore, I once again appeal to them to come and join the session,” he said.

Endorsing the Speaker’s view, Madhuswamy said that he too had said the same thing. “It appears that Siddaramaiah may have thought that by boycotting the last day of the session, he would gain public sympathy,” he said.

“This Bill was our poll promise. Passage of this Bill is our proud achievement. How can we hide it from anyone,” Ashoka said.

In the absence of the Opposition, the ruling party moved crucial the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Bill 2020, which is aimed at increasing the number wards from 198 to 243.

After 4 pm, the ruling party had to adjourn the House and wait for the legislative council to complete its business as the fate of two crucial Bills – the anti-cow slaughter Bill and the BBMP Bill – is yet to be decided there.

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