BELAGAVI: With the Opposition demanding more time for discussion on the anti-conversion Bill, which was to be taken up on Wednesday, Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri announced that he will allow an exclusive debate in the House on the contentious Bill from 10 am to 1.30 pm on Thursday. The Bill, which was tabled in the House on Tuesday, is expected to kick up a storm when it is taken up for discussion.
Many in the Congress were eagerly waiting to take on the ruling party in the Assembly, anticipating a discussion on it on Wednesday, but decided against demanding for it after the Speaker set aside the whole day for discussion on important issues related to North Karnataka.
Several Congress legislators have raised serious objections to several clauses in the Bill and are wondering if they would get a chance to voice their opinions. “I have several objections to the Bill and I’m keen to raise some issues when the debate on it begins on Thursday. Most of the Opposition members are for a chance to speak,” Khanapur MLA Anjali Nimbalkar.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar is expected to lead the Opposition against the passage of the Bill as he has already expressed serious objections to it. He said the Bill was being passed for political gains and that there was no need for such a Bill when there already are laws to act against those indulging in forcible religious conversion.
Opposition leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, said his party is opposing the Bill tooth and nail as it is being brought in the House with mala fide intentions. According to sources, the Congress members are expected to boycott the House before the Bill is passed on Thursday. It will be interesting to see what stand the JDS members, led by H D Kumaraswamy, will take. Some of its members have opposed the Bill but whether they will join the Congress in opposing it remains to be seen.
On the other hand, the BJP members are confident of getting the Bill passed in the Assembly. The party feels it is necessary to bring such a Bill to prevent illegal conversions. Soon after the anti-conversion Bill is passed in the Assembly, as expected by tomorrow afternoon, the discussion on North Karnataka development will resume.