Karnataka legislature session ends amid chaos, with govt. refusing to probe BMS trust case, disallowing discussion on ‘40% commission’

Deadlock in the House is a ploy to prevent a discussion on corruption charges by contractors’ association, says Siddaramaiah

Deadlock in the House is a ploy to prevent a discussion on corruption charges by contractors’ association, says Siddaramaiah

The last day of the 10-day Legislative Assembly session ended on a chaotic note as the demand of Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) for a probe into allegations of private people being allowed to get a stronghold in the BMS Educational Trust was rejected and Opposition Congress ‘ Demand for discussion on “40% commission” was not taken up.

The House was adjourned sine die even as members of both parties were protesting. Vociferous sloganeering by JD(S) members prevented the Congress from raising the “40% commission” issue and their demand for an extension of the session till Monday to allow it went unheeded.

Minister’s defence

As soon as the proceedings began, JD(S) members continued dharna in the well of the House. Holding photographs of Higher Education Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, they shouted slogans and sought a probe into changes in the original deed of the trust, which holds crores-worth properties in Bengaluru.

Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri adjourned the House for a few minutes and convened a meeting of the floor leaders. As the meeting chaired by the Speaker failed to evolve consensus, JD(S) members continued their protest.

Dr. Narayan, against whom the JD(S) leveled charges, said the BMS trust is an educational trust and the government had no role in its functioning. It would continue to remain a public charitable trust for the benefit of the public. JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy leveled allegations to tarnish the image of the government, the Minister said.

Dr. Narayan defended the decision to allow the trust’s resolution to make changes in the original deed by maintaining that it would not alter the nature of the trust and that legal opinion by the Advocate General also favored it.

Congress issue lost in din

Amid JD(S) members sloganeering, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah urged Mr. Kageri to allow him to speak on the alleged “40% commission charge” made by the Karnataka State Contractors’ Association against the government. Both Mr. Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai traded charges against each other amid din.

“I have been waiting for three days. This deadlock is a ploy to prevent a discussion on the issue,” said Mr. Siddaramaiah. When he demanded that the Speaker hold the session on Monday, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said it was not possible as Navarati celebrations would commence from Sunday.

Bill tabled

As JD(S) members refused to withdraw their dharna, the Speaker tabled answers provided to various questions in the House. Later, he asked Mr. Bommai to table the Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority Bill, 2022, and later adjourned the House sine die.

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