Yeddyurappa wins trust vote, Congress walks out(Roundup)

June 6th, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 6 (IANS) The first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in southern India Friday formally began its rule in Karnataka with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa easily winning the trust vote in the assembly, after a walkout by the main opposition Congress. A one-line motion of confidence was approved by voice vote by BJP members and independents supporting the government as the 80 Congress members walked out of the house at the end of a two-hour discussion on the motion moved by Yeddyurappa.

The other opposition party, the Janata Dal-Secular that has 28 members, did not join the walkout, its leaders clarified. Earlier reports said both parties had trooped out.

In the 225-member house that includes a nominated member, the BJP has 110 members and it has the support of six independents, five of who are cabinet ministers.

The Congress forced a discussion on the motion although Yeddyurappa sought its acceptance without a debate. Speaker Jagadish Shettar allotted two hours for discussion.

Moving the motion, Yeddyurappa appealed for cooperation from the Congress and the JD-S to make Karnataka a model state in the country.

“The ruling and opposition parties have almost equal strength in the house. Hence it is essential that we cooperate to tackle the problems facing the people and make Karnataka a model state,” he said.

The Congress defended its walkout saying the Yeddyurappa government, which took office May 30, had not shown interest in solving the problems of farmers and had failed to cut sales tax on petro products following Wednesday’s hike in fuel prices.

Earlier, Governor Rameshwar Thakur addressed the joint sitting of the two houses of the legislature and spelt out the development programmes of the Yeddyurappa government.

Referring to the crumbling infrastructure of India’s IT hub, Thakur said the government will set up a separate cell to focus on completing pending civic projects and initiating new schemes to expand the basic amenities.

Admitting unplanned growth of Bangalore had choked the city with heavy vehicular traffic, led to deficiencies in water supply and sanitation, and pushed up the pollution level, he said the cell would also tackle pressing issues related to regularisation of unauthorised constructions.

The assembly will resume its session on June 23 and Yeddyurappa is likely to present the new government’s budget in the second week of July.

Yeddyurappa has not alloted portfolios to any of his 29 cabinet ministers. He had put off the allocation till after the trust vote in view of dissatisfaction among some senior leaders over denial of berth in the ministry and the demand for key portfolios such as home, mines, power and urban development.

Portfolios might be assigned Saturday when he is expected to induct one more cabinet minister, leaving three berths to be filled up later. Constitutionally, Karnataka can have a 34-member ministry.

Yeddyurappa will retain the finance portfolio. He held the ministry as deputy chief minister in the previous JD-S-BJP coalition government and presented two budgets.

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