Karnataka assembly begins session, BJP’s Shettar will be speaker

June 4th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 4 (IANS) The Karnataka assembly Wednesday began its first session with members taking oath in the name of god, farmers and some in the name of their leaders. Pro-tem speaker K.G. Bopaiah, who administered the oath, overruled objections from the opposition Congress to members taking the name of their leaders.

B.S. Yeddyurappa, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first chief minister in the south, was the first to take oath in the name of god and farmers, followed by Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress. Kharge is the leader of the opposition as the Congress has won 80 seats in the 225-member house — which includes one nominated member.

The BJP will also get its first speaker in Karnataka Thursday when Jagadish Shettar, a senior leader from north Karnataka, will be formally declared elected to the post.

Shettar Wednesday filed his nomination papers. The Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), which has just 28 members in the house, have not fielded any candidate making Shettar’s election unanimous.

Shettar, a four-time legislator from Dharwad, had refused to accept the speaker’s post as he was keen on a ministerial berth. His supporters had staged protests and burnt a bus in his home town over his exclusion from the Yeddyurappa ministry which was sworn in May 30.

However, he was persuaded by the party’s central leadership to take up the post.

Ahead of the session, Yeddyurappa met JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and sought their cooperation for the smooth running of the government.

The new chief minister had met Kharge Tuesday.

The BJP won 110 seats in last month’s polls but secured majority to form the government with the help of six independents, five of whom have been made cabinet ministers.

Governor Rameshwar Thakur will address the joint sitting of the two houses of the legislature Friday after which Yeddyurappa will seek the trust vote in the assembly.

Yeddyurappa has not allotted portfolios to his 29 cabinet ministers in view of Shettar’s earlier insistence on a berth in the ministry and demand for key portfolios like home, irrigation, power, mines and urban development from others.

He is likely to assign the ministries after Friday’s trust vote.

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