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The winter session of Karnataka legislature beginning here tomorrow is expected to be stormy as the opposition seeks to corner the Siddaramaiah government on a host of issues, including the demand for Minister K J George's resignation. This will be the last session at Belagavi for the 14th Assembly, as polls are due early next year. During the ten-day long session, other than demand for George's resignation, Income Tax Department raids on properties linked to senior Minister D K Shivakumar is also likely to come up, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accusing BJP-led central government of using the department to woo him into the party fold. Issues that may also come up include demand for separate religion status to the dominant Lingayats as the session is being held in north Karnataka where the community's presence is predominant, and Mahadayi water sharing dispute with neighbouring Goa. Among the bills, 'The Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017' is likely to be discussed as Law Minister T B Jayachandra after cabinet's approval had said that "It will be tabled in the next session." Also expected is discussions on "Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill," against which private Doctors have announced 'Belagavi Chalo,' a protest march during the session. The doctors contend that the provisions of the bill are too harsh on them. Among various issues on which opposition is set to target the government ahead of elections next year, are farmers issue, especially concerning sugarcane growers. Speaking to reporters here ahead of the session tomorrow, Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad said his intention is to give "priority" to issues pertaining to north Karnataka region, where the session is being held. On the issue of attendance of the members, he said, "I can only request them to actively participate, they are responsible representatives of the people.... there is no law for this, I can request." Stating that including 10 days of the current session, totally the House would have met for 40 days during the current year, Koliwad said his wish was for 90 days session with 45 days each in Bengaluru and Belagavi. He said the finance department has approved Rs 21 crore for the winter session and based on the request of various departments including the police to make necessary arrangements, a request has been made for additional Rs 5 crore. The session is expected to be stormy as BJP is expected to strongly demand the exit of George, who has been booked by CBI in a case related to the death of a police official, M K Ganapathy. After party's core committee meeting in Mangaluru, BJP on November 9 had urged Siddaramaiah to seek George's resignation. They have also said that the party would take up fight on the issue, both inside and outside the House, if the government does not agree. Siddaramaiah had earlier rejected BJP's demand for resignation of George terming it as "totally politically motivated." Deputy SP Ganapathy (51) was found hanging from the ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July 7, prior to which he gave an interview to a local TV channel, saying the then home minister George, and two senior police officials, named by him, would be responsible "if anything happens to me". George had resigned then but was brought back to the ministry after the CID probe gave him a clean chit. Belagavi in north Karnataka has been hosting legislature session once a year since 2006 when the move was initiated by the JD(S)-BJP coalition government. This was followed by construction of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, by the BJP government as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. Maharashtra claims Belagavi should belong to it. District administration and the police have made elaborate security arrangements for the session with over 5,000 police personnel being deployed along with bomb disposal and other forces, officials said. Expressing "sadness" over Suvarna Vidhana Soudha remaining non functional for the rest of the year, other than during the session once a year, Speaker Koliwad said his wish was to make it function for 365 days by shifting some departments here. "It is left to executive." Asked whether the issue of two editors of Kannada tabloids, sentenced for one-year jail term by the Karnataka Assembly over their alleged defamatory articles against legislators will come up during the session, he said, "it is not for me to decide." "The house has to take a decision on the matter....
I have only heard their arguments and have taken their representations, I will place it before the House." Editors - Ravi Belagere and Anil Raju of "Hai Bangalore" and "Yelahanka Voice" respectively had in July appeared before the Speaker and pleaded for a review of the House resolution following High Court's advise for finding an amicable solution to the controversy.