Land scam cloud over Karnataka legislature session

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

BANGALORE - The first session of the Karnataka legislature this year begins Thursday with land scandals surrounding Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa set to dominate the 10-day proceedings.

The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) with 27 members in the 225-strong assembly and 13 in the 75-member legislative council, has plans to stall the proceedings demanding Yeddyurappa’s resignation.

The main opposition Congress, which has 71 members in the assembly and 17 in the council, has not decided on joining the JD-S in stalling the proceedings. However, it intends to intensify agitation within the two houses for Yeddyurappa’s ouster.

Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s first chief minister in south India, is accused of favouring his kin with prime land in and around Bangalore. The mounting demand for his resignation forced him to make the kin surrender the lands.

This act has, however, not impressed the two opposition parties, which are insisting on Yeddyurappa’s resignation.

The JD-S wants to adopt the tactics that BJP did at the national level to stall the entire winter session of parliament, seeking a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum allocation scandal.

The Karnataka legislature last year (2010) set a record by meeting for only 31 days during the year. All political parties have, however, been talking of the need to meet at least 60 days in a year.

The first session of the New Year begins two days after the results of district polls held on Dec 26, Dec 31 and Jan 1. The results have left all parties weakened in some way.

The BJP failed to realize its dream of capturing power in majority of the 30 zila (district) and 176 taluka (sub-district) panchayats.

It emerged as the single largest party winning 12 zila panchayats and 68 taluka panchayats as against its hopes of ruling at least 20 zila panchayats and over 100 taluka panchayats.

Though Yeddyurappa is claiming the results were a “befitting reply” to opposition charges against him, the failure to win majority has weakened his position to take on an increasingly aggressive opposition, particularly the JD-S.

The JD-S and the Congress won only four zila panchayats each. In 10 zila panchayats, no party got a clear majority but Congress and JD-S have won enough seats to rule in at least eight of them if they come together.

The JD-S has already offered to join hands with the Congress to keep BJP away in these zila panchayats. Congress is expected to decide in a day or two on the offer and if it joins hands with JD-S, then at least 16 of the 30 zila panchayats will be in their control.

Anticipating trouble in the session, Yeddyurappa Tuesday appealed to Congress and JD-S not to disrupt the proceedings. He told reporters that he was ready to discuss all issues in the legislature.

But the JD-S cannot afford to lessen its aggressive stand. It fears poaching of its legislators and now the newly elected zila panchayat and taluka panchayat members by BJP in the event of any sign of lowering the intensity of the campaign against Yeddyurappa.

The JD-S has said it will go ahead with plan to stall the legislature proceedings even if the Congress decides against it.

The Congress may sail along the current rather than be seen as indecisive and allowing the JD-S to walk away with the credit of taking on BJP’s corruption single-handed.

Filed under: Politics

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