BENGALURU: On the first day of the winter session, Congress seized the opportunity to ridicule the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government inside the House. From Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, no one was spared from the Congress’ attack with Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah leading the charge.
“The Prime Minister says he has a 56-inch chest. But what is its use if he doesn’t have a compassionate heart? He didn’t even talk about floods when he visited Karnataka,” Siddaramaiah said as he tore into the Centre for first delaying aid and then announcing a miniscule relief package.
Congress leader Krishna Byre Gowda said, “The estimated damage is Rs 38,000 crore but the Centre has released Rs 1,200 crore. Rs 303 crore out of that is out of our own SDRF funds that were supposed to be credited to Karnataka anyway. The Rs 990 crore released is just eyewash.”
Even as CM Yediyurappa — who also holds the Finance Ministry — was in a teething hurry to table bills including the Finance Bill, Siddaramaiah sought to move an adjournment motion. With Speaker Kageri refusing to give a ruling on the motion, Yediyurappa tabled bills amid a ruckus by the Opposition.
Barely seven cameras belonging to Doordarshan captured the ruckus inside the House after Kageri’s order banning private channel cameras was implemented on Thursday. Byre Gowda said, “You have thrown out the media to ensure people don’t see what is happening in the House. You have stolen the rights of the media and the Opposition. You behave like the rubber stamp of the government.” With no zero-hour or question hour listed for the day’s business, the Opposition moved an adjournment motion.
“The government has predetermined that it will hold sessions for only three days. We were hoping you (the speaker) would listen to our concerns and advice the government but we had to stage a walkout since you didn’t even consider it. Are the floods not an issue that needs to be discussed at length?” said Siddaramaiah.
“When I was Chief Minister for five years, my high command never interfered. I had the freedom to take decisions but it isn’t the same for poor Yediyurappa. I have a great liking for him but I pity his curent state,” Siddaramaiah said.
BJP will now have to wait to debate on the all-important Finance Bill. On Friday, the government led by the Chief Minister is expected to respond to queries raised by the opposition on the floods and flood relief.