The Monsoon Session got off to a stormy start in Karnataka on Monday with the opposition Congress leaders arriving on bullock carts to the Vidhana Soudha to highlight the issue of rising prices. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa attended the session but sat in the last row.
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D.K. Shivakumar reached the Vidhana Soudha on bullock carts with their supporters to register their protest against the rising prices of fuel and daily commodities.
Traffic was thrown out of gear as hundreds of supporters and many legislators took part in the bullock cart procession.
“The BJP government is indulging in pickpocketing the common man. This is a pickpocket government. We can’t sit quietly. We will invent new ways of protests until the prices of essential commodities are brought down,” Shivakumar said.
“No government in history has allowed inflation like the ruling BJP. The fuel rate here is higher than in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. India has become the nation levying maximum tax on fuel. Former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee had equated the price hike to ‘criminal loot’. The ruling BJP is indulging in this,” he charged.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai reacted to the bullock cart protest by saying: “Let the Congress leaders come to the session and I am ready to give a befitting answer to their questions. Why didn’t they protest during the UPA government’s tenure, even then there was inflation,” he asked.
Prior to attending the session, Basavaraj Bommai met his predecessor Yediyurappa in the lounge and sought his blessings. All the Ministers, who were accompanying Bommai, touched Yediyurappa’s feet.
Yediyurappa attended the session and sat in the last row. He was quiet all through. Later, while talking to the media, he vowed that he will ensure that Siddaramaiah sits in the opposition in the upcoming elections. “His win in Badami constituency last time was accidental,” he said.
“I am all set to go for a statewide tour along with party President Nalin Kumar Kateel. The Bommai government is doing a good job. I have requested the seat next to the Whip in the Assembly. They have consented,” he said.