Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to address joint sitting of K’taka legislature today
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will on Friday address both houses of the Karnataka legislature, state legislative assembly speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri said on Wednesday. Om Birla will address Friday's session at 2.30pm on the topic "Democracy - Safeguarding Parliamentary Values." This is the first time he will address the joint session of the two houses of a legislature. Friday will be the last day of the 10-day long legislature session which started on September 13.
According to an official statement, the Lok Sabha Speaker's address will see the participation of the chairman of the state legislative council Basvaraj Horatti, assembly speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, state ministers, MLAs, MPs and MLCs and other dignitaries.
However, the Congress party, which is the main opposition in Karnataka, will boycott Om Birla's address. The Congress said that Birla's address at the legislative assembly chamber will set a "wrong precedent" as no one other than the country's President and Karnataka governor has addressed such joint sittings till now.
"When the matter came up at the Business Advisory Committee meeting, I had said, it will set a new precedent, as so far no Lok Sabha speaker has addressed the joint sitting in the assembly. Let's not set a new precedent, also there is no scope for it in the constitution," the leader of opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah told reporters on Thursday.
He said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government was not ready to extend the session by at least one week, adding that both houses met after six months and there are numerous issues to be discussed. "We have decided to boycott in protest," the former Karnataka chief minister said.
Echoing his concerns, state Congress president DK Shivakumar said on Thursday that there is no scope of an address by Om Birla speaker inside the assembly "as per our parliamentary system and our business rules." Taking a jibe at the Lok Sabha Speaker's topic of address, Shivakumar said it seemed that the ruling dispensation agreed to the fact that democracy and parliamentary values have deteriorated under their rule.
(With agency inputs)