BJP gears up to face Congress heat in Karnataka assembly on price rise
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday issued directions to its legislators to counter protests over price rise, and other issues that the opposition parties are likely to raise during the course of the 10-day monsoon session of the Karnataka assembly.
“This was a preparation meeting on the issues that the opposition will raise over petrol and other prices, and the bills that are scheduled to come up, among others. The party has said that attendance is compulsory for all legislators,” said N Ravi Kumar, MLC and state general secretary of the BJP in Karnataka.
The BJP and the new Basavaraj Bommai government are gearing up to face an angry opposition who on Monday began their protests against the government over rising prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and other commodities.
The three main political parties in Karnataka are hoping to make the most of the monsoon session with the BJP trying hard to defend its administration from allegations of dissent, increasing crimes against women, inadequate flood and drought relief, and an impending third wave of Covid-19 infections. The Bommai government is also staring at a possible revival of the agitation by the Panchamasali, the largest sub-sect within the Lingayats, to press for their demand of being pushed to the 2A category of the state reservation list.
The Congress is also trying to corner the BJP government over steep price rise in petrol, diesel, LPG and other essential commodities.
Former chief minister BS Yediyurappa sat in the last row of the assembly on Monday when the session was convened mostly for obituaries.
“I was the chief minister. I had requested the speaker to get me a seat next to the chief whip which he had agreed to,” Yediyurappa said.
The 78-year-old said that he would undertake a state-wide tour in about 15-20 days and after consultation with the state BJP president and other leaders.
“In the coming days, we want the BJP to return to power in Karnataka and if Siddaramaiah does win, we hope that he sits in the opposition,” Yediyurappa said.
Siddaramaiah, the leader of the opposition, has also demanded the release of the socio-economic and educational survey or caste census, conducted by the Congress government in 2015 to help revive his AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) support base to counter the dominant caste-political narrative in Karnataka.
The Janata Dal (Secular) too is trying to keep a neutral stance and attack the government to quell speculations of the regional outfit getting closer to the BJP.
The JD(S) is yet to decide who it will back in Kalaburagi where the September 3 urban local body (ULB) polls have thrown up a hung verdict and given the party another chance to play “kingmaker”.
Both the BJP and Congress have reached out to the JD(S) seeking support of its four corporators who will become the deciding factor in the yet-to-be announced mayor elections of the border district and divisional headquarters.
The JD(S) has said that both parties have reached out to the regional outfit and added that it will take all factors into account before taking its decision.
HD Kumaraswamy, the former chief minister and JD(S) leader, on Monday said that they will raise issues against both the Congress and the BJP over its failed promises.
“In the nine days (of the session till September 24) we want to honestly have an issue-based discussion on all the problems in the state. I request that all three parties do not waste time,” Kumaraswamy said.