BJP disrupts Karnataka Governor's address

Indo Asian News Service

Bengaluru, Feb 6 (IANS) The 10-day Budget session of the Karnataka legislature began on a stormy note on Wednesday with BJP legislators disrupting Governor Vajubhai Vala's address to the joint sitting.

As soon as Vala began his address in Hindi, Bharatiya Janata Party members walked towards the Chair and started raising slogans against the state's JD-S-Congress coalition government, drowning his voice.

With the opposition members refusing to hear him out in the pandemonium, the Governor abruptly stopped his speech after reading only two pages and left the Assembly.

Soon after, Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar tabled the Governor's speech as 'read' and copies of Vala's joint address were circulated in Kannada and English to the members of the Assembly and Council.

The Speaker made obituary references to the State's iconic seer Shivakumara Swami, who passed away on January 21, and Mangaluru-born former Defence Minister George Fernandes, who died on January 29.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, BJP leader in the Lower House B.S. Yeddyurappa, and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara also paid tributes to the seer and Fernandes.

Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, will present the State Budget for fiscal 2019-20 in the Assembly on Friday.

Speaking to the media outside the Assembly, BJP legislator from Chitradurga district, B. Sriramulu, said the party was protesting against the coalition government's alleged failure to waive farm loans fully.

"The coalition government has failed in supporting the farmers and waiving their farm loans. We will continue our protests in the House to highlight the government's failures," Sriramulu told reporters.

Stating that the coalition government did not have the support of all their legislators, he said, "Kumaraswamy must step down as the Chief Minister."

Congress leader and State's Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries K.J. George said that the BJP was free to move a 'no-confidence' motion.

"There is no use of the BJP creating a ruckus in the Assembly. If they are uncertain that the coalition has the support of the majority, they are free to move a no-confidence motion," he retorted.

The state unit Congress in a tweet in Kannada termed the disruption by the BJP as a "disrespect" to the Governor and the House.

--IANS

bha/oeb