Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot has rejected an ordinance on increasing the use of Kannada in signboards of businesses.
This marks the first notable conflict between Governor Gehlot and the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led Congress government.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar disclosed the Governor's decision to return the ordinance on Tuesday (30 January).
Earlier on 5 January, the state Cabinet had given its nod to an ordinance to amend the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Act to mandate 60 per cent use of the state’s language in signage, as opposed to the current requirement of displaying Kannada on the “upper-half portion” of business boards.
“We made a law and approved an ordinance. The Governor could have given his assent. Instead, he has sent it back saying it should be passed in the Assembly,” Shivakumar was quoted as saying by the Deccan Herald.
The Governor's decision comes ahead of the upcoming Budget session, scheduled to commence next month, with Gehlot slated to address both legislative houses on 12 February.
According to the DH report, the government may have sent back the ordinance in view of the legislature session being around the corner.
The Siddaramaiah-led government opted for the ordinance route following violent protests by pro-Kannada groups in Bengaluru, who were demanding greater prominence for the state language on business signage.
Shivakumar’s statement came a day after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Governor Gehlot at Raj Bhavan, where Siddaramaiah reportedly requested the Governor to approve bills from the December Belagavi legislative session.
Subsequently, Governor Gehlot approved three bills on Monday, including one abolishing mandatory rural service for medical graduates. Out of 17 bills passed in the Belagavi session, five have received the Governor's assent.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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