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10 BJP MLAs suspended; Karnataka Assembly witnesses chaotic scenes

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday witnessed chaotic and unruly scenes as angry BJP legislators tore copies of bills and the agenda, and threw them at the Deputy Speaker

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (right)  and Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar	photo: pti

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (right) and D K Shivakumar

Press Trust of India Bengaluru
The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday witnessed chaotic and unruly scenes as angry BJP legislators tore copies of bills and the agenda, and threw them at the Deputy Speaker, who was presiding, following which Speaker U T Khader suspended 10 of them for the remainder of the session.
In turn, MLAS of the opposition BJP and JD(S) gave notice of no confidence against Speaker Khader to the Assembly Secretary.
The turn of events unfolded following both the opposition parties staging a protest in the assembly against the Congress government for allegedly "misusing" IAS officers to work for the meeting of leaders of 26 opposition parties, which was held in Bengaluru in the past two days.
The 10 BJP legislators who have been suspended for the reminder of the session for their "indecent and disrespectful conduct" in the House are -- C N Ashwath Narayan, V Sunil Kumar, R Ashoka, Araga Jnanendra (all former ministers), D Vedavyasa Kamath, Yashpal Suvarna, Dheeraj Muniraj, A Umanath Kotian, Arvind Bellad and Y Bharath Shetty.
They were suspended after the House adopted a motion to this effect.
The assembly session began on July 3 and is slated to end on July 21.
A few of the suspended BJP MLAs were forcibly taken out of the assembly chambers by marshals.
BJP legislators staged a protest against the Speaker's decision to suspend the 10 party MLAs, first outside his office and then at the Vidhana Soudha west gate. They were shortly joined by JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
Senior BJP member Basanagouda Patil Yatnal was taken to hospital after he fell ill during the protest. "He is stable and doing fine," BJP MLA Ashwath Narayan said after visiting him in hospital.
The protesting BJP MLAs, including former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, were detained and taken away by police.
Bommai and Kumaraswamy are among the BJP and JD(S) MLAs who signed the joint notice of no confidence against Speaker Khader.
"As the Speaker who has been elected by all members of the Karnataka Assembly has lost the trust of the House, to remove him from the post, we request for an opportunity to move the motion as per rule 169 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly," the notice addressed to the Assembly Secretary read.
Things went out of control in the Assembly as opposition BJP and JD(S) members protested from the well of the House, accusing the Congress government of deputing 30 IAS officers to "serve" its alliance leaders, who had met in the city on Monday and Tuesday in the city, to strategise for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
BJP members gave vent to their anger as Deputy Speaker Rudrappa Lamani was conducting the proceedings, after Speaker Khader left stating that the House would not break for lunch and the discussion on the Budget and demands would continue. He said that those members who want to go for lunch could do so and return to the discussions.
The Speaker's decision not to break for lunch was seen as an attempt to put the agitating BJP MLAs in a fix, as they now had to decide whether or not to continue their protest.
Upset by this, the BJP members went into a huddle for a brief period and then, all of a sudden, threw papers at the Chair and the Deputy Speaker stating that the House cannot be run like this.
"House is being run, bills are being passed without order....Under which rule had the lunch break been cancelled," they demanded to know.
Earlier in the day, amid protest by BJP and JD(S) members from the well, Speaker Khader allowed Home Minister G Parameshwara and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to make separate statements. He also allowed five bills to be passed, without any discussions.
The BJP members also repeatedly raised the issue of Speaker Khader attending the dinner hosted for opposition leaders by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah here on Monday and also meeting senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi there.
As several members repeatedly threw papers at the Deputy Speaker, objecting to the way in which the House was being conducted, assembly marshals surrounded the Chair and tried to protect Lamani.
At one point, Lamani ordered the marshalls to send the unruly BJP MLAs out, and said their behaviour was unbecoming.
The Congress MLAs too strongly objected to the "unruly" behaviour of the BJP MLAs, resulting in chaos. The Deputy Speaker then adjourned the house for the later part of the day.
After the House was adjourned, some Congress lawmakers, including ministers Krishna Byre Gowda and B S Suresha (Byrathi Suresh), took the marshalls to task, and questioned What were you doing when papers were being thrown at the Deputy Speaker? They said the marshalls should be suspended for not acting sooner.
A few Congress MLAs even purported that the BJP's attack on Lamani was motivated, because he is a Dalit.
As the House met for the day in the morning, the BJP accused the government of using IAS officers for political purposes in violation of protocols. They party's MLAs alleged that the government used the officers to serve "those who have been in jail and are now out on bail" -- at a time when the assembly session is on.
BJP MLAs R Ashoka, S Suresh Kumar and V Sunil Kumar alleged that the government used the IAS officers to host political leaders who are not covered under any state protocol, for two days, instead of sending them to work in drought-hit areas.
Suresh Kumar also blamed the chief secretary for it. "CS should not have allowed officers to be used for political purposes... You give protection, but using officers for protocol purposes to those out on bail is shameful."

Hitting back, Law Minister H K Patil said that the protocol involving state guests was followed, and claimed that the opposition was making such allegations because they are "unable to digest" that 26 opposition parties came together.
Attacking the government, Basavaraj Bommai said for the first time such a large number of officials had been used in the name of protocol for a non-official event. An official of the rank of Principal Secretary was used as a "clerk to welcome someone not covered under protocol," he said.
Reading out the list of political leaders of "unheard small parties" to whom IAS officers were deployed to serve as "gatekeepers" citing protocol, he said discretionary power has been misused for political gains.
"Protocols were extended to so-called heads of political parties who are not taken seriously in their respective states."

Reacting to this, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated that protocol used for state guests has been followed, and political leaders were treated as per the same protocol during all governments in the past.
"We won't fear your (opposition) threats... For politics such issues are being raised," he said, claiming that during Kumaraswamy's swearing in as CM in 2018 such a protocol was followed in hosting leaders of a number of political parties who attended the event.
The late BJP leader (H N) Ananth Kumar had requested state guest status for Executive Committee Members in the past and was granted by him as he was the then CM, Siddaramaiah added.
Kumaraswamy too slammed the Congress government for deputing IAS officers for a political event. He also hit back at Siddaramaiah stating that his swearing-in was a government function and not an event organised by a political party.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 19 2023 | 10:01 PM IST

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