Setback to Cong in K’taka: Legislative Council rejects Bill proposing to collect 10% temple income

Bengaluru, Feb 23 – In a setback to the Congress government in Karnataka, the controversial Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which is aimed at collecting 10 per cent of the total income from the rich temples, failed to pass in the Legislative Council on Friday.

As members of the BJP and the JD(S) raised objections, Deputy Chairman of the Council, M.K. Pranesh, called for a voice vote, in which the Bill was rejected after the opposition members voted against it.

Seven members voted for the Bill, while 18 members voted against it.

Proposing the Bill in the Council, Transport and Muzrai Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that as per the present rules, the government is getting Rs 8 crore from the temples. After the new rule is passed, the government will earn Rs 60 crore and from these funds, the ‘C’ grade temples would be managed, Reddy said.

Stating that there are more than 40,000 priests at the 34,165 ‘C’ grade temples across the state, the minister said, “We will provide funds to the priests to build homes and provide scholarships to their children. We also provide insurance cover to them.”

Opposing the Bill, the leader of opposition in the Council, Kota Srinivas Poojari, said that it is not tenable to collect 10 per cent from the income of temples.

“If Rs 100 crore is collected, Rs 10 crore has to be given to the government as per the Bill. But, one must first deduct the expenditures and then the government can take its share. The government should grant Rs 200 crore for the development of ‘C’ grade temples in the state,” Poojari said.

BJP MLC N. Ravikumar said the state government should not even think of collecting 10 per cent income from the temples.

“Rs 60 crore is not a big amount for the state government. Hindu temples must be allotted with Rs 300 crore for development work,” he said.

After this, Minister Reddy said that he will present the Bill on Monday, which was objected to by Deputy Chairman Pranesh, who called for a voice vote for the Bill to pass.

After the Bill was rejected, the BJP members raised ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogans inside the House, while their Congress counterparts chanted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Bheem’.

On Wednesday, the controversial Bill was passed by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

Meanwhile, taking to social media, the BJP claimed that as per the Bill, persons belonging to other religions can become part of the temple management process.

“This is a malicious intent of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to dry the coffers of the temples with the help of people from other religions, much the same way he has emptied the state’s treasury,” the BJP alleged.

mka/arm

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