People’s Demands Amid Political Turmoil in Karnataka
Even as an ugly political tug of war continued in Karnataka with BJP positioning itself to grab power if the Congress-JDS alliance government falls, sections of weary people were seen pressing for the resolution of their longstanding grievances. With elected representatives nestling in resorts or huddled in palace intrigues, ASHA workers plan to hold a mass demonstration in Bengaluru and sugarcane farmers met the chief minister in connection with the issue of a sugar mill in Mandya district.
Speaking to PublicTV, a few of the disgruntled MLAs of the Congress, who are now in a resort in Goa, said that that the key reason for their resignation is the fact that the government was not efficient. The MLAs also complained that the development work in the state has taken a back seat and by resigning, they claimed to register their protest. Whatever is the reason for the 14 MLAs to resign, they have resigned now and the government is unstable, making a clear way for the divisive Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form its government in the state. This is ironic as this coalition government was formed at the first place in an attempt to keep the BJP away.
However, in a breather for the coalition government, Speaker Ramesh Kumar has maintained that the resignations are “not in order”, according to an NDTV report. The speaker, in a letter to the governor Vajubhai Vala, noted that the resignations were submitted while he was not in the office, which makes the resignations unlawful. As the government is trying to save its own skin, irrespective of the political environment, there are people in the state putting forth their demands, as usual, hoping to be heard.
Also Read: Karnataka’s Political Drama at Its Peak
Asha workers in the state are planning a protest in order to make their demands heard, and Prajavaani, a Kannada daily, reported that the sugarcane farmers of Mandya district met the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in Vidhana Soudha on July 8, 2019.
The meeting had in attendance, R B Timmapura, the Cabinet minister of sugar, ports and inland transport, C S Puttaraju the minister of minor irrigation, D C Tamanna, minister of transport, and various farmer leaders. The report said that the various decisions, regarding Mysugar unit of the Mysore Sugar Co Ltd, were taken. The CM, addressing the media, said that the revival of the unit was discussed in the meeting. NewsClick tried to reach the farmer leaders of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) in this regard, but got no response.
Asha workers from the state, on the other hand, have given a call for Vidhana Soudha Chalo on July 12, 2019, demanding a fixed honorarium. Addressing the media, S Varalakshmi, leader of the Asha workers’ union, observed that the Asha workers in the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh have a fixed honorarium, but the workers in Karnataka have been seeing a significant decrease in the incentives given to them. She also noted that the workers are “treated as slaves” by the Health Ministry. Along with the honorarium of Rs 10,000, the workers have put forth following demands:
The facilities of PF and ESI should be provided to the workers.
The budgetary allocation for the National Rural Health Mission should be increased.
The government should pay for the Janashree Bima Yojana.
The incentive funds unpaid for the last eight months should be paid.
First aid boxes should be distributed.
Maternity benefits should be made available.
Transportation and food facilities should be provided.
Prajavani quoted Varalakshmi as saying: “We have been demanding these things for a long time, but have failed to get any attention from the governments. Protesting against this negligence of the government with the support of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), we will protest on July 12 at 11:30 am at the Sangollirayanna Railway station.”
Along with these issues, one has to remember that the state is facing a consecutive fifth year of drought and a severe water/drinking water crisis. The BJP, however, has been waiting eagerly ever since the formation of this government to topple it and disrupt the governance. Its manifestation can be seen in political drama unfurled in the state.
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