BJP paralyses Karnataka assembly proceedings over farm loan waiver

Belagavi: The Karnataka assembly witnessed repeated adjournments Thursday as the opposition BJP staged a protest for the second day, seeking clarity from the government on the farm loan waiver scheme.

BJP members also squatted in the well of the House, demanding that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy apologise to the leader of the opposition B S Yeddyurappa for his comments against him during the debate in the assembly on Wednesday.

As the House met for the day, BJP members trooped into the well, shouting slogans like “down down to the anti-farmer government”, “loan waiver should be implemented.” Hitting back, members of the treasury benches asked what moral right the BJP members had to call the government anti-farmer when they had done nothing for the farming community and farm loan waiver.

With heated exchanges between both sides, pandemonium broke out. The BJP has sought clarity from Kumaraswamy on loan waiver and the exact day by which debt free certificates would be issued to farmers. They also want him to apologise to Yeddyurappa for accusing him of colluding with nationalised banks, who, they said, are now non-committal on their earlier one-time settlement offer to NPA accounts.

Yeddyurappa said the BJP has cooperated with the government for the smooth functioning of the House from the day the session began on 10 December. “We behaved as a responsible national party, but in return I was humiliated for questioning this government over lack of clarity on farm loan waiver,” he said.

Farmers’ suicides was the major ‘achievement’ of this government, Yeddyurappa said. He said Kumaraswamy and his ministers were claiming that about Rs 45,000 crore farm loans had been waived in the last six months, but had only waived Rs 50 crore from nationalised banks till now.

There was no clarity from cooperative banks also, he said. The chief minister’s reply had no seriousness or clarity, and when questioned, “he has insulted me”, Yeddyurappa said. “The Chief Minister has to apologise for his remarks and clarify on farm loan waiver. Until then our protest will continue,” he said.

BJP members continued their protest in the well, following which Speaker Ramesh Kumar adjourned the House. When the House resumed after a gap of over an hour, BJP members continued with their slogans “down down to anti-farmer government,” “loan waiver should be implemented.”

As the Speaker’s repeated attempts to pacify BJP MLAs failed, he adjourned the House till lunch. When the House resumed in the post-lunch session, BJP persisted with its protest, and Congress members too shouted slogans against the opposition.

The Speaker then adjourned the House till tomorrow. Speaking to reporters later, Kumaraswamy said he would not apologize as demanded by BJP. “I have not done any wrong thing. If I yield for BJP’s demand then definitely I will disrespect my chair (Chief Minister),” Kumaraswamy said.

Kumaraswamy said he need not learn about addressing farmers’ issue from BJP leaders. “It is they who have to apologize not me. I have not used any unparliamentary words,” he said. The BJP and its leaders lacked “tolerance” to hear about the steps taken by his government on the farm loan waiver issue, he said and described Yeddyurappa’s conduct as “immature.”

Listing various initiatives taken by his government to fully implement the farm loan waiver scheme that would benefit about 44 lakh farmers, Kumaraswamy said he was committed towards it and accused the BJP of being not interested in the House functioning.