Govt, oppn likely to lock horns over Centre-State row as Karnataka Budget session begins Monday

NewsDrum Desk
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Bengaluru, Feb 11 (PTI) The Karnataka legislature's Budget Session, which will begin on Monday, is expected to be fraught, with the Centre's alleged discrimination against the state and the accusations of corruption and poor governance faced by the Siddaramaiah-led government likely to take centre-stage.


The Congress government is expected to showcase its agenda ahead of the Lok Sabha polls later this year through the Governor’s address and presentation of the State Budget, while the opposition BJP and JD(S), which are set to fight the polls jointly, look to show the government in poor light by highlighting the allegations against the administration.

The 10-day session, which will commence with Governor Thawaarchand Gehlot's address to the joint session of both houses of the state legislature, will see Chief Minister Siddaramaiah presenting his record 15th Budget on February 16.

The session, which will conclude on February 23, is also expected to be stormy as the united opposition of the BJP and JD(S) are likely to corner the government on a host of issues, which the ruling Congress has vowed to strongly counter them.


The BJP and JD(S) are expected to attack the Siddaramaiah administration, alleging poor management of the drought situation, lack of development, deteriorating law and order situation, mismanagement of state's finances, and corruption, among other issues.

Karnataka State Contractors' Association President D Kempanna's recent allegation that the former BJP administration's practice of taking 40 per cent 'commission' on government contracts continues even under the Congress dispensation because of corrupt officials, is likely to give ammunition for the opposition to attack the government.

Incidents of disturbances, some of them with communal undertones, are also likely to come up, including the issue of the removal of a saffron flag (Hanuma dhwaja) by government authorities at Keragodu village in Mandya district, and police action on BJP activists and villagers who protested against it.


The opposition had protested vehemently over the issue even as the government explained that the villagers had replaced the national flag and hoisted the Hanuma Dhwaja in its place, which is what necessitated the action.

Also, the "separate nation" remark by Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's brother and Congress MP from Bangalore Rural D K Suresh, which had elicited sharp reactions from the BJP, is also likely to be taken up by the opposition.

Recently, Suresh pointed out that a major share of taxes collected from the south are being distributed to north India, whereas the states here get only a meagre share. He said the southern states would be compelled to demand for a separate nation if the "injustice" was not rectified.


The government plans to counter the BJP, by reiterating its allegations of "injustice" by the central government to the state in tax devolution and grants-in-aid, and also the delay in giving clearances to several development projects.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had recently led a protest in Delhi by Karnataka's Congress ministers, legislators and MPs, demanding that the union government make good the state's alleged loss of Rs 1,87,000 crore -- an amount due from the Centre during the five years under the 15th finance commission. He is likely to hit back with data at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre.

The CM has also indicated that his government plans to bring out a "white paper" on the state's finances. The tabling of the white paper may also lead to a row in the assembly, as it looks to corner the previous BJP government in the state and the party's government at the Centre.


The Congress is also likely to point out the Modi government's delay in sending relief to the drought-hit state, despite Karnataka sending 25 BJP MPs to the Lok Sabha out of the total 28 LS seats.

The Congress may also take a dig at the JD(S) and its leadership, questioning its secular credentials for allying with BJP.

However, the chief minister and deputy chief minister are likely to find it challenging to placate their own legislators who have been demanding funds for development works in their constituencies ahead of the Lok Sabha election amid financial constraints, given that close to Rs 60,000 crore would be required annually just for implementing the government's five guarantee schemes.

Issues such as caste census, internal reservation among SCs, demand for enhanced quota from certain communities such as Panchamasali Lingayats, are also expected to be raised during the session.

Several bills, including the one mandating the use of 60 per cent space for Kannada displays on signboards of businesses and establishments, is expected be tabled by the government in this assembly session. PTI KSU RS KSU ANE