Karnataka budget Feb 8 despite strong opposition

Bangalore, Jan 19 (IANS) The Karnataka cabinet Saturday decided that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar will present the 2013-14 budget Feb 8, ignoring strident opposition from Congress and other parties not to do so as assembly polls are due in May.

"The cabinet decided today (Saturday) that budget session of the legislature will begin Feb 4 and chief minister will present the budget Feb 8," Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar told reporters here.

The Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) also contend that Shettar should not present the budget as he has lost majority in the house as at least 15 of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) 117 assembly members have aligned with the party's former leader B.S. Yeddyurappa who is now heading Karnataka Janata Party (KJP).

Shettar and the BJP, however, have taken the stand that there is no legal bar on presenting a full budget even though elections are only months away and the government is ready to prove majority if a no-confidence motion is brought against it.

The session will begin with an address by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to the joint sitting of the assembly and legislative council, Suresh Kumar said.

The session is scheduled to end Feb 13, he said.

Yeddyurappa, who had been threatening to pull down the Shettar government to prevent him from presenting the budget, seems to have given up his plans as apparently he is not fining many backers for his plan.

However BJP assembly member and staunch Yeddyurappa loyalist Nehru Olekar claims that at least 22 BJP legislators, including three ministers, will quit the assembly Jan 23.

Shettar and state BJP chief and deputy chief minister K.S. Eshwarappa have rubbished the claims and are challenging Yeddyurappa, the Congress and JD-S to move a no-confidence motion against the government in the assembly.

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