Karnataka Government extends budget session till 26 February; BJP stages protest over Congress’ resolutions

The resolutions highlight the contentious issue of tax devolution and concerns about biased fund allocation and grant distribution.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Feb 23, 2024 | 1:14 PMUpdatedFeb 23, 2024 | 1:14 PM

karnataka budget session extended

The ongoing Karnataka budget session has been extended till Monday, 26 February, owing to the health issues of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The session was to conclude on Friday, 23 February.

Karnataka Legislative Assembly Chairman UT Khader announced in the house on Friday: “The Chief Minister will provide the reply to the budget on 26 February. The session should have concluded on Friday but it has been extended by a day.”

Apart from this, the state government is expected to table more bills in the house on the last day of the session, that is, on Monday.

The Chief Minister’s Office said that the budget session has been extended due to the health issues of the chief minister and that the chief minister will reply to the budget on Monday.”

“The government is expected to table more bills on Monday. The chief minister is also ailing with a throat infection and is yet to recover. So, he will give a reply to the budget on 26 February,” added the CMO.

The business proceedings were affected on Friday as the Opposition party, the BJP, jumped into the well and staged a protest against the Congress government for passing two resolutions against the Union government, leading to the adjournment of the session for several minutes.

The opposition party leaders including LoP R Ashoka and Deputy Opposition leader Aravind Bellad have criticised the government while debating on the budget.

Related: Karnataka assembly passes resolution against ‘fiscal injustice’, another seeking law on MSP

BJP protest against the resolution

Objecting to the passing resolution against the Union government, Leader of Opposition R Ashok said: “We have cooperated for the smooth conduct of the business in the assembly. All the agenda and business used to be discussed in the meeting but these resolutions have been tabled without following the due procedures.”

“The government did not bring it while discussing the agenda in the meeting. If out of the blue, they started to read (the resolution), what does this mean? Why is hide and seek being played by the government on the house proceedings?” Ashok alleged that the rules and regulations and sanctity of the house have been thrown into the air.

The Congress government passed the resolutions highlighting the contentious issue of tax devolution, and concerns about biased fund allocation and grant distribution.

The second resolution, focusing on farmers’ demands for a minimum support price (MSP), underscores the crucial role of agriculture in India’s economy and calls for legislative action to ensure fair pricing for farmers’ produce.

Meanwhile, the opposition party leaders demanded the speaker to extend the session till Tuesday, 27 February, considering the Rajya Sabha elections are happening on the same day.

Also Read: Maharashtra plans office near Belagavi border to extend health scheme to Marathi speakers in Karnataka

Government defends 

However, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs HK Patil defended the government’s move to pass the resolution.

He further added: “The resolution is in the interest of Karnataka. It is the voice of seven crore people of the state. All the party MLAs have approved it. There is no necessity for the government to take a nod from you (opposition) to pass a resolution.”

Patil said that he will not accept the BJP’s argument on the matter.

Even after minister Patil replied, the BJP MLAs continued to protest at the well of the house.

BJP defends the Union government 

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai argued, “In the Congress’ regime, which was at the helm for over 55 years, the tax devolution was fixed at merely 20 percent to the states. After several states protested and pursued with the UPA to increase it to 30 percent.”

He further said: “At the end of the UPA regime, the tax devolution was around 32 percent to the states. After Narendra Modi came at the helm, within a few months, he increased it from 32 percent to 42 percent.”

“The prime minister naming it as cooperative federalism— increased the tax devolution share by 10 percent. The state government is burying all these facts, it is presenting illusionary numbers,” replied Bommai.

Congress MLAs accused Bommai of misleading the house. In the meantime, Speaker Khader adjourned the house for 10 minutes.

Nearly 20 minutes later, the session was adjourned but the opposition party MLAs continued its protest against the state government.

Despite BJP’s protest, speaker Khader continued with the house proceedings.