Congress protests demanding revoking suspension of its MLA in Karnataka assembly
Protest by opposition Congress legislators demanding revocation of suspension of one of their colleagues from the House for his "indecent" conduct, disrupted proceedings of the Karnataka Assembly on Friday.
Congress MLA B K Sangamesh was on Thursday suspended from the Assembly till March 12 for removing his shirt inside the House, during a protest by his party against Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri's decision to hold a special discussion on 'One Nation, One Election' (ONOE).
Sticking to their stand, members of the principal opposition party also did not participate in the special discussion on ONOE, terming it "RSS agenda", as they also made it clear that they will not allow a debate on the topic.
Disruption by Congress legislators through sloganeering and protest from the well of the House resulted in repeated adjournments, hence throwing the scheduled debate on ONOE out of gear.
As the House met for the day Congress members trooped into the well and demanded that the suspension of Sangamesh be revoked.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, urging Speaker Kageri to revoke the suspension, said the MLA removed his shirt, angered by false cases of atrocity and attempt to murder booked against him and his family members and his voice not being heard by the Chair,
Defending Sangamesh, he further said, the decision to suspend him for a week was not right, and demanded that the Chair using its powers should revoke the suspension.
Hitting back, ruling BJP members criticised the Congress and Siddaramaiah for defending indecent conduct.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, despite the Speaker informing Sangamesh that his notice on false cases will be heard, his behaviour of removing the shirt during the opposition's protest on ONOE was uncalled for.
"To what level are we going? He (Sangamesh) is not apologetic and has criticised the Chair in front of the media. ...if Congress leaders are defending his conduct this shows to what level they have stooped to.The decision to suspend him is right and it should not be revoked," he said.
BJP member Araga Jnanendra, hitting out at the Congress and Sangamesh, asked "Do they think this is a cabaret club to remove dress?" Several other BJP MLAs including Basangouda Patil Yatnal said that the decision to suspend Sangamesh was right and urged that it should not be revoked.
As the House witnessed chaos with Siddaramaiah and Congress members stating that false cases are being registered against opposition MLA, the Speaker requested them to cooperate and allow discussion.
"..if you (Congress) don't want to participate in debate on ONOE at least don't curtail the rights of those who want to participate," he said, as he defended the suspension of Sangamesh calling his conduct indecent and disrespectful.
Siddaramaiah then said ONOE was an RSS agenda and it cannot be discussed here."We will not allow it..." Following this, the Speaker adjourned the House for some time.
Again as the House resumed, even as Congress members continued to protest, the Speaker asked Minister Bommai to speak on ONOE, to which Siddaramaiah said, "we will not allow" and asked his partymen to continue sloganeering.
Slogans like "revoke suspension", "speaker RSS puppet", marred Bommai's speech who tried to make a case for ONOE, as he noted that elections were held together till 1967 and held Congress responsible for deviating from it.
Amid the din, the Speaker requested opposition members to allow those who want to participate in the debate to exercise their right and told Siddaramaiah and the state Congress chief D K Shivakumar to instruct his party members not to respect democracy.
He then adjourned the House till post lunch.
When the House resumed post lunch, BJP MLA P Rajeev started speaking on ONOE, but Congress members soon walked into the well of the House and continued with their protest.
As his repeated appeal for smooth debate went unheard, Speaker Kageri said he would make all efforts to convince Siddaramaiah and Congress members for discussion on ONOE during the session till March 31 after budget presentation on March 8, and adjourned the House till Monday.
The discussion on 'ONOE' was scheduled for March 4 and 5 at the beginning of the budget session, following advice by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting of Speakers of legislative assemblies held in Gujarat, and the Karnataka assembly is said to be the first to initiate a debate on the issue.
The Congress on Thursday too had held a protest in the House against the special discussion on ONOE terming it as an RSS agenda, despite which the Speaker made his introductory remarks and Chief Minister B S Yediyiurappa made his statement advocating for synchronising assembly and parliamentary elections.