Karnataka legislature session begins, farmers on protest march in Bengaluru
A number of farmer organisations are staging a protest march in Bengaluru against what they say are anti-farmer bills passed by the Centre and the state. Karnataka had passed a law to allow non-agriculturists to buy farmland which they could not do so till recently.Updated: Sep 21, 2020, 12:58 IST
The monsoon session of the Karnataka assembly began on Monday amid protests by farmer organisations and the state government reaching out to opposition to cut short the session as some 50-60 MLAs are Covid-19 positive or in home isolation. The Congress, however, is in no mood to relent.
A number of farmer organisations are staging a protest march in Bengaluru against what they say are anti-farmer bills passed by the Centre and the state. Karnataka had passed a law to allow non-agriculturists to buy farmland which they could not do so till recently. In May, the state amended the APMC act which allows farmers to directly sell to private players circumventing the 160 APMCs in the state. This had attracted the ire of some farmer organisations.
Large parts of the state are also undergoing heavy rains and the farmer organisations want adequate compensation to be given to those who have suffered due to the recent floods.
The state government wants the session, which is currently scheduled for 10 days - till September 30, to be shortened to three days.
Nearly 10 members of the BS Yediyurappa cabinet - deputy CM CN Ashwath Narayan, home minister Basvaraj Bommai, among others - have tested Covid-19 positive or are under isolation. Several opposition leaders too, including former minister and Congress leader Priyank Kharge, have tested positive for coronavirus and are in isolation.
Chief minister Yediyurappa tried to reach out to Congress leader Siddaramiah and JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy to see whether the Business Advisory Committee could agree to shorten the session. However, till now the opposition has not agreed to cut short the session. CM Yediyurappa said he would want the opposition parties’ cooperation to shorten the session given the ongoing pandemic as nearly 55-60 MLAs are unable to attend the session.
While administration officials said that extraordinary precaution has been taken to ensure safety measures are in place, KPCC president DK Shivakumar, speaking to the media on Monday, said that there were more than 78 bills that the government was trying to pass which required detailed discussion. “We want answers for the more than 1,600 questions we have submitted in both Houses. We want to highlight the corruption in the government while purchasing Covid care equipment. There is no question of us agreeing to shorten the session.”
On the Karnataka cabinet expansion, CM Yediyurapa had said that he is awaiting directions from the party high command.