Congress’s plan to target Bommai govt goes sine die



  • The Winter Session of the Karnataka legislature that was adjourned sine die on Friday had enough ingredients for fireworks but the Basvaraj Bommai administration seems to have been let off easy by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress.
  • The sensational Bitcoin scam and the ‘40 per cent commission’ charge — issues handed to the Opposition on a platter — did not make any noise. There is disappointment within the Congress camp and party legislators blame it on “bad floor management”.
  • Congress, the principal opposition party, had built some momentum in the run-up to the Legislature session. On December 12, a day before the session started, senior officials got into a huddle to chalk out a plan to defend the government on the kickbacks allegation.
  • The Opposition’s plan was to attack the government on its handling of farmers’ issues due to floods, followed by the development of north Karnataka and then corruption issues. The plan went haywire, one MLA said, blaming the eruption of the Kannada-Marathi issue that ate into legislative business hours.
  • The Congress started off on a promising note by raising corruption allegations against Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj. “When the border issue came up and the state needed a united voice, we had to reprioritise,” the MLA, who is a former minister, said.
  • Congress was also under pressure to ensure there was a discussion on the floods and north Karnataka. At the same time, a section of MLAs told the party leadership that “some political messaging” should be delivered through the session by attacking the government.
  • “Very cleverly, the BJP introduced the Anti-conversion Bill that we had to oppose. Unfortunately, the session wasn’t long enough to cover all issues,” the Congress leader said.
  • Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah wrote to Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri last week, asking him to extend the session by one more week.


  • Even on the Anti-conversion Bill, Congress could not put the government on the mat. In fact, Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar, who tore the supplementary agenda the day the Bill was tabled, skipped the Assembly the next day when it was passed. “For Shivakumar, the upcoming padayatra on the Mekedatu is more important, politically,” a source close to Shivakumar said.
  • The only time the ‘40 per cent kickbacks’ issue came up was when senior Congress MLC CM Ibrahim raised it in the upper house. His demand for a house committee probe was rejected by the government.



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