Bangalore: Passing the Finance Bill (Budget) in State Legislature and keeping warring BJP MLAs together would be nothing short of a political litmus test for Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar in the next 15 days. Getting the lawmakers’ nod for the Bill will be an important agenda for him during the Legislature session that starts on Thursday.
In March, the previous government headed by D V Sadananda Gowda had taken a Vote on Account for four months ending on July 30. Thus getting the Bill approved by the Legislature by this month-end is crucial to keep the wheels of government moving. In case of a failure, the government employees will not be getting their salaries and there would no funds for projects and programmes.
The job of passing the Bill looks easier said than done, as different BJP factions are still unhappy with issues like allocation of portfolios and denial of Cabinet berths. Ministers loyal to Sadananda Gowda are said to be meeting in Bangalore on Wednesday or Thursday to discuss their strategy.
Passing the Budget and keeping warring BJP MLAs together would be nothing short of a litmus test for Shettar.
Meanwhile, nearly 20 BJP MLAs, led by former minister G Karunakara Reddy, may quit the party. On Monday, MLA Belur Gopalakrishna fuelled such speculations by meeting JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy. This move is seen as a pressure tactics to keep the BJP brass on its toes to “ensure support” for the smooth passage of the Budget. It is said that under these circumstances, Shettar may still get the Bill passed but not before making hectic backdoor negotiations.
Ministers, who are sulking over not getting good portfolios, and MLAs, who are not made ministers, feel this is the right time to press their demands. “Once the Budget is approved, the new CM will be in a commanding position and may not budge under any pressure tactics,” one of the disgruntled leaders said.
The Congress and the JD(S) too will add to Shettar’s woes. They may ask for division of votes when the Bill comes up for discussion, and also take the government to task over its attitude towards drought-hit farmers.