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July 1, 2018

Karnataka legislature begins on July 2

Agencies

Bengaluru, Jul 1: Amid coalition worries, the first full-fledged assembly session in Karnataka after the H D Kumaraswamy led Congress-JD(S) government came to power will begin on Monday with Governor Vajubhai Vala addressing the joint session.

This will be for the third time the fifteenth assembly will be meeting after the assembly polls in May, which yielded a fractured verdict with BJP emerging as the single largest party, but falling short of numbers to form the government.

In the first session on May 19, the three-day-old BS Yeddyurappa led BJP government resigned even before taking the floor test with numbers stacked up against it, while the second one on May 25 saw Kumaraswamy winning the vote of confidence.

The session is beginning tomorrow against the backdrop of discordant notes emerging from the Congress and JDS even on the issue of presenting a full-fledged budget and over several ministerial aspirants in both parties failing to make it to the cabinet.

On the other hand, the opposition BJP, which has termed the government as an "unholy alliance", is all set to corner it on a host of issues, including the discord between the coalition partners affecting governance and delay in the implementation of the much-hyped farm loan waiver that JD(S) had promised to implement within 24 hours of coming to power.

With the five-member committee set up by the Congress-JD(S) coordination committee to draft a common minimum programme for the coalition government, ready with its report that includes crop loan waiver, the focus will be now on the budget to be presented on July 5, by Kumaraswamy, who also holds the finance portfolio. Divergent views have been aired in public by some Congress and JDS leaders on several issues, including presentation of the budget.

Siddaramaiah, who held the finance portfolio in the previous government, had recently said there was no need for a fresh budget and insisted that a supplementary budget would do.

Adding to the coalition's discomfort is the controversy over a video that purportedly showed coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah's remarks, questioning the need for a fresh budget and expressing scepticism over the longevity of the government.

The video had surfaced on Tuesday. Prior to this, another video had emerged on Sunday last, purportedly showing Siddaramaiah expressing displeasure to a few Congress MLAs over the presentation of a fresh budget.

During the nine-day-long session that will end on July 12, it will also be interesting to see how Congress and JD(S), who had fought bitterly against each other during the polls will try to put up a united front against the formidable opposition BJP with 104 members, in the 224 member assembly.

Karnataka legislature begins on July 2

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