Stormy assembly session for Karnataka BJP on flood aid

by IANS |

Bengaluru, Oct 9 (IANS) The ruling BJP is bracing for a three-day stormy session of the Karnataka legislature from Thursday, as the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) decide to raise the alleged delay in relief aid for the flood-hit people across the state due to excess southwest monsoon rains and rivers overflowing, a party official said on Wednesday.

"We are ready to discuss and debate on any issue pertaining to flood relief works and financial aid to the affected people from the central government," a BJP spokesman told IANS here.

Though a 10-day winter session of the state legislature is held in November or December every year at Belagavi in the state's northwest region, the state government decided to cancel it this year as the northwest districts are reeling under the aftermath of floods and heavy monsoon rains in August that wreaked havoc in the southern state.

"Instead of the session at Belagavi, the government decided to hold it at Vidhana Soudha in the state capital (Bengaluru) for 10 days this month. When the Election Commission on September 21 announced by-polls in 15 Assembly segments on October 21, the session was curtailed to 3 days to enable the parties and its legislators to campaign for their candidates," the official said.

Though the poll panel on September 27 postponed the by-polls to December 5 as the disqualification of 15 Congress and JD-S rebel legislators was pending in the Supreme Court, the state government has not extended the session beyond three days.

"As the legislative members are busy restoring normalcy and coordinating relief and rehabilitation works in their constituencies, the government has decided to keep the session short to avoid disrupting their work and enable them to stay at their native places," the spokesman said.

The Congress and JD-S, however, decided to seek extension of the session to a week to discuss the alleged failure of the BJP government in flood relief works as the centre delayed in sanctioning funds for reconstruction of houses, roads, bridges and state/national highways and restoring normal life.

"Though the same party (BJP) is ruling at the state and Centre, their governments failed to provide timely relief and succour to the lakhs of people in 22 of the 30 districts across the state, as there is no coordination between them,a Congress senior legislator V,S, Ugrappa told IANS here.

While the state government has estimated the total loss to be a whopping Rs 35,000 crore due to floods and heavy rains in the coastal, central and northern regions of the state, the Centre has granted Rs1,200 crore interim aid for relief and rehab works.

"The ruling BJP has betrayed our people who voted for its candidates to win 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the recent general elections. By engineering defections and buying our former rebel legislators, its leaders came to power after toppling our 14-month coalition government though they did not have majority in the assembly," JD-S leader Ramesh Babu told IANS.

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