State legislative assemblies and councils are meant for discussing and debating issues of public but the MLAs in Karnataka are charting a different course. Legislators across political parties seem to have a lackadaisical approach and their attendance record for the current session is pretty dismal.
When the bell rang in the iconic Suvarna Soudha, a paltry 18 per cent of legislators were seen inside the assembly. Out of the total 225 legislators, only 42 were present. Congress led the tally with 27 MLA's, followed by BJP with 9 MLA's and 6 MLA's of JDS. 10 Ministers, who had been designated by the Speaker to attend Monday’s session, were also absent.The assembly speaker KB Kolivad expressed his displeasure over the absence of legislators.
The Legislative council fared a touch better than the assembly as the attendance 52% MLC's attended the session. When questioned, legislatures across the parties about their absence in the assembly and council , all were ready with their excuses .
But this has not happened first time in Karnataka. When the winter session of assembly commenced on 13th of November, there were less than 20 MLAs in the House. Even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar were not present in the morning. Since quorum was not full , Speaker K. B. Koliwad adjourned the session and said “ *With a lot of pain, I would like to say that the House is being adjourned for lack of quorum”.
Although the house re-assembled after sometime and the attendance raised to 75 members. When questioned by the media about their absence from the assembly, the Karnataka legislators were quick to defend themselves with excuses a plenty. Few of them justified their absence by stating that the first day of the house gets adjourned due to obituaries being paid, hence there isn't too much of legislative business to cater to.
Political experts say assembly elections are near therefore legislators prefer to attend public functions instead of assembly, so that they can connect with the people.
Suvarna Soudha is located in belgavi , 510 kms away from State capital Bengaluru and as per government records around 25 crores will be spent on the winter session of Legislative assembly and council .