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Karnataka house session begins, Shettar confident of survival

The Karnataka legislature on Monday began the last session of its five-year term with the BJP ministry hoping to survive on a wafer-thin majority and getting the budget for the next year approved.

The 10-day session got off in an orderly manner with Governor H R Bhardwaj’s customary address to the joint sitting of the assembly and the legislative council.

The assembly session is the last as elections to the 225-member house are due in May. Polls will be held to elect 224 members and one seat is filled by nomination.

The quiet beginning belied speculation that opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular would demand that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar first prove his majority as 14 ruling party members have quit the assembly and the resignations of two more members were pending with the speaker.

The 14 resignations have reduced the strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to 106, including the speaker, in the assembly. The BJP has the support of one of the seven Independents who is a cabinet minister. The nominated member is also a BJP member. The combined opposition strength, including the six independents, stands at 103.  If Speaker K G Bopaiah accepts the two pending resignations, the BJP will be down to 104, including the speaker.
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