The 10-day winter session of the Karnataka legislature beginning here on Monday is likely to be stormy, as the opposition BJP has threatened to disrupt the proceedings on a number of issues, including its demand for a minister's resignation and discussion on income tax raids on another minister.
The winter session of the legislative assembly and the council is held at Suvarna Soudha in this border town, about 500 km from state capital Bengaluru since a decade to address the various issues of people in the state's northern region.
With assembly elections due in early 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are also set to corner the ruling Congress on the "worsening" law and order situation in the state, especially Bengaluru, and graft charges against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
"We will not allow the assembly to function till Minister K.J. George resigns, as the CBI had filed an FIR against him on October 14, for abetment of suicide by a police officer," opposition leader and BJP lawmaker Jagadish Shettar told reporters at Hubballi on Sunday.
George was the Home Minister when Mangaluru Deputy Superintendent of Police M.K. Ganapathy accused him of harassment in a television interview before he committed suicide in July last year.
"As continuation of George in the cabinet has become untenable, he should resign or be sacked till the CBI investigation is complete and he is acquitted. He has no moral right to be minister till then," reiterated Shettar.
Ganapathy, 51, was found hanging on July 7, 2016 in a lodge in Madikeri of Kodagu district, about 250 km west to the state capital.
Siddaramaiah, however, ruled out the resignation of George, as "the FIR of the CBI was the same the state Crime Investigation Department registered and investigated", giving a clean chit to him in the case.
"George resigned once (July 18, 2016) after the Madikeri court ordered the local police station to register the case against him, but was re-inducted into the cabinet (September 26, 2016) after the CID found that he had no role in Ganapathy's suicide," asserted Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru on October 27.
The JD-S, however, urged the BJP not to disrupt the proceedings and wait for the outcome of the CBI probe on continuation of George in the ministry.
The Income Tax department raids on Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar in early August led to war of words between the Congress and the BJP after the ruling party accused the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of misusing the tax department to harass its minister in the state.
The demand by some ministers and ruling lawmakers for separate religious identity to Lingayats and opposition to it from a section of the same caste is also set to figure in the session as it has divided the dominant community.
The inter-state dispute over the sharing of the Mahadayi river water with Goa across the border is also likely to dominate the session as the issue had been pending over the last two decades.
Besides, opposition by the private hospitals and doctors to the bill to amend the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act and the BJP's objection to the bill on amending the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act are some other issue likely to cause disruptions in both Houses. IANS