Karnataka Assembly proceedings were paralysed on Thursday amid chaos over a BJP MLA watching a zoomed in picture of Priyanka Gandhi on his mobile phone in the House, with ruling Congress members on the offensive demanding action against the legislator.
As angry Congress members raised the issue demanding action against Prabhu Chavan for his "indecent act" in the House on Wednesday, their counterparts in BJP also hit back with both trading charges against each other, causing pandemonium.
Speaker Kagodu Thimappa adjourned the House for ten minutes initially till afternoon and later for the day as the bedlam persisted despite his efforts to restore calm.
As the House assembled in the morning, slogan shouting Congress members rushed to the front row of seats, demanding strict action against Chavan, saying his "unacceptable" conduct had hurt the dignity of their leader. In a major embarrassment to BJP, Chavan was caught on TV camera watching a zoomed in photo of Priyanka Gandhi on his mobile phone and another BJP MLA U B Banakar playing video games during discussion on the plight of sugarcane growers.
Hitting back at Congress, BJP members led by Jagadish Shettar sought two-day suspension of minister M H Ambareesh and Congress MLA S S Mallikarjun from the House, alleging they were also surfing through mobile phones during proceedings. TV footage was being aired showing Ambareesh and Mallikarjun using mobile phones during discussion on the plight of sugarcane farmers on Wednesday, Shettar said.
Raising the issue, law and parliamentary minister T B Jayachandra demanded action against Chavan and sought a permanent solution to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
The minister said the incident has not only tarnished the image of the two legislators, but also that of the legislature. Referring to the earlier incident during BJP's rule when Laxman Savadi and C C Patil, then ministers, were caught on TV camera watching pornography on their mobiles, he said a report has been submitted but no action was taken.
Shettar demanded that the Chair put an end to such incidents and curb the use of mobile phones in the Assembly. Admitting the folly of his party legislator, Shettar requested the Speaker to allow him to make a statement in the House. He said the act has maligned the image of public representatives. Earlier, Thimappa requested Congress members to take their seats and resume proceedings as Chavan had apologised with tears in his eyes in his chamber. "The legislator visited me and apologised for the incident and shed tears.
I think it will be appropriate that the members resume their seats and allow the house to function," he said. But the Congress members were in no mood to heed his advice. Later when the House resumed proceedings in the afternoon, the bedlam continued, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the house for the entire day.