Karnataka legislature meets Wednesday

Bangalore, May 26 (IANS) Karnataka legislature begins a short session Wednesday for the first time after the Congress returned to power on its own in the state after nine years.

The session will end June 7, a release from the legislature secretariat said.

Siddaramaiah, who took over as chief minister May 13, would perhaps be the first leader of the state to face three former chief ministers in the opposition benches - H. D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Jagadish Shettar of the Bharatiya Janata Party and B. S. Yeddyurappa who has since left the BJP and heads his Karnataka Janata Party.

Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy were colleagues in the JD-S till 2006.

It was the alleged promotion of Kumaraswamy and his brother H. D. Revanna in the JD-S by their father and party president H.D. Deve Gowda that prompted Siddaramaiah to leave the party and join the Congress.

Kumaraswamy and Shettar have been elected leaders of their parties in the assembly.

As of now, Kumaraswamy stands a better chance of being recognized as leader of the opposition in the assembly, a post that carries with it the perks of a cabinet minister, though his party and the BJP have won 40 seats each in the 225-member assembly. This is because the JD-S polled more votes than the BJP in the assembly poll held May 5.

The Congress has a comfortable majority in the 225-member assembly, having won 121 seats.

The BJP suffered a massive defeat in the poll as it lost 70 seats. It had won 110 seats in the assembly poll held in 2008 and had formed its first government in the state with the help of five Independents.

Yeddyurappa's KJP has only six.

The remaining seats have been won by independents and smaller parties.

Voting would take place May 28 in Periyapatna constituency in Mysore district as the May 5 polling was countermanded following the death of the BJP candidate.

The first two days of the session would be spent on the new members taking oath with six-time Congress legislator and former minister Malikayya Guttedar as pro-tem speaker.

Veteran Congress leader Kagodu Thimmppa, 82, is to be elected speaker May 31.

Governor H. R. Bhardwaj would address the joint session of the legislative council and assembly June 3.

This would be the second time Bhardwaj will address the joint session in four months. He addressed the last joint session of the previous assembly Feb 4 when the BJP was in power.

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