Amid border row, K’taka winter Assembly session begins Monday in Belagavi

Starting Monday, for ten days the winter session of the state legislature is set for action in Belagavi, which is the centre of the dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra.

With the Assembly polls due in April-May next year, this will be the last winter session in the northern Karnataka city for the present Bommai dispensation. Predictably, the BJP government plans to push crucial legislations while the opposition is waiting to corner it on several fronts, including corruption.

The BJP government is moving ahead with its plans to increase the Scheduled Caste reservation from 15 per cent to 17 per cent, and from 3 per cent to 7 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes exceeding the Supreme Court’s 50 per cent cap on reservation.

Speaking to the media in Hubballi on Sunday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, “The SC/ST Reservation Ordinance Replacement Bill is one among a set of Bills to be introduced in the session of the State Legislature at the Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi from tomorrow.”

In all, six draft laws are slated to be discussed ahead of the approval. While four are new Bills, two had been tabled in the previous session in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties are preparing to corner the government on the corruption issue, voter list data theft scam, the crumbling civic infrastructure in Bengaluru among others.

The recent auto rickshaw blast case in Mangaluru is also a major flashpoint that is expected to dominate the session proceedings. Especially after Congress state president D.K. Shivakumar alleged that the BJP government used the incident to divert public outrage from the Bengaluru voters list data scam.

The recent flare up of the border issue with Maharashtra, is expected to raise temperatures over the state government’s handling of the issue.

Over the past 16 years, Suvarna Vidhana Soudha’ — the stately edifice —  has been the venue of Karnataka’s winter session of legislature nine times. Constructed more as a symbol of the state’s ownership of the border district which is claimed by Maharashtra, the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha remains idle for the entire year, except for around two weeks when the session convenes for the winter.

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