Bengaluru: The B.S. Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government has been facing flak for not following its own dictum against mass gatherings to fight the coronavirus outbreak as it refuses to adjourn the ongoing budget session.
The state assembly’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) held an emergency meeting Monday to decide on the adjournment of the session, but the chief minister has been insistent that the session will continue until the budget is passed on 27 March.
Making his government’s stand clear, Yediyurappa maintained that it is the responsibility of the legislators who are representatives of the people to be ready to serve at this time of need.
“The session will continue until the passing of the budget. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also clarified that the Parliament session will not be curtailed even for a day,” the CM told the media Sunday. “So we have also decided to continue with the session until the Budget is passed on 27 March.”
“Being anxious is not a solution,” he added. “The situation is under control in Karnataka.”
Lok Sabha, however, was adjourned sine die earlier in the day after passing the Finance Bill.
Sources said Medical Education Minister Dr C. Sudhakar advised the CM to adjourn the session but the minister toed the chief minister’s line while speaking to ThePrint. “Who will take decisions to help fight this epidemic if we don’t work together?” he asked.
Officials sources at the secretariat, however, said that the passage of the Money Bill is crucial to ensure the government has enough money to handle the crisis as well as its expenditure.
“Voting on the money bill is yet to be discussed in detail and that is why the CM has been insisting that the session continues until the bill is passed,” the source said.
Late in the day, the BAC announced that the assembly session will be adjourned after one last session Tuesday.
Opposition calls for suspension of session
The state’s opposition wants the government to adjourn the session due to the pandemic. Former Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundurao told ThePrint that there is an urgent need to adjourn the session as it would then allow the government to concentrate on working towards curbing the outbreak.
“We should set an example and keep safety as a high priority. We should ensure that we concentrate on fighting this epidemic,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and former speaker Ramesh Kumar also stressed that at this time it is important to take on the fight against COVID-19 seriously and adjourn the session.
“There is a provision for the CM to move an amendment to the budget proposals and convert them into a vote on account for the next three months. When the assembly reassembles, the budget could be taken up for discussion and voting,” Kumar said.
Former chief minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy also maintained that the state government should follow its own directions asking people to avoid large gatherings.
“There is a need to impose self-restrictions. The Vidhan Soudha is full of people, from legislature officials, police officials to legislators. It is a risk, “ he said.
- This copy has been updated with the BAC decision to adjourn the budget session after Tuesday.