Governor gives nod for Karnataka budget session

Bangalore, Jan 24: Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has given consent to convene the state legislature from Feb 4 for the 10-day budget session even as 14 rebels of the ruling BJP have decided to resign from the assembly, precipitating the political crisis in the state.

“The governor has given consent to summon the state legislature from Feb 4 as requisitioned by the state government,” a senior official of the state legislative secretariat told IANS here late Thursday.

As is customary, the governor will address a joint session of the legislature, when it meets for the first time in a new year.

The budget session will also be the last in the five-year tenure of the current assembly, as elections are due in April/May.

“The governor will address the joint session, which will be the first this year. The 10-day session will last till Feb 13,” the official said.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who also holds the finance portfolio, will present his maiden budget Feb 8 for the ensuing fiscal (2013-14). The budget proposals will be in two sections, with one on agriculture and other on general subjects.

Meanwhile, former state chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said that Shettar had no moral right to continue, as his six-month-old third Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has lost “majority” with 14 rebel legislators deciding to quit the ruling party and join his regional party – Karnataka Janata Party (KJP)

“The BJP government has lost majority in the house (assembly). Hence, Shettar has no moral right to continue,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here Thursday evening.

Cautioning Shettar against going ahead with the budget session, the KJP president said as the BJP government has been reduced to minority with the withdrawal of support by 14 lawmakers of the ruling BJP, the chief minister should not take up any constitutional activity, including presentation of the budget for next fiscal.

“This government should not do any constitutional activity, including presentation of the budget. In the present circumstances, Shettar should resign immediately as he has lost majority in the house,” Yeddyurappa reiterated.

Claiming that he was expecting more ministers and ruling party legislators to resign and join his regional outfit (KJP), Yeddyurappa said it was the responsibility of the BJP to save its government though it has no majority in the assembly.

The 225-member assembly strength has been reduced to 223, including one nominated member, as two seats fell vacant after Yeddyurappa resigned Nov 30 and another BJP legislator, Haladi Srinivasa Shetty from Kundapur segment in the coastal region, resigned July 18, 2012.

The faction-ridden BJP has 120 lawmakers, including the speaker, the nominated member and an independent member who is in the cabinet, while the opposition Congress has 71, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 26, Independents five and the BSR Congress one.

IANS