Bengaluru: Opposition Congress targeted the ruling BJP, especially newly inducted Ministers, over virtually empty treasury benches in the Karnataka legislative assembly on Wednesday.
As the House met for the day, Congress legislator P T Parameshwar Naik pointed out to Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri the absence of Ministers, except Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa and Animal Husbandry Ministry Prabhu Chavan.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, who was called by Kageri to speak on a discussion on law and order situation in the state, said, "There are no Ministers in the House what is the use of me speaking?"
Pointing at newly inducted Minister K Sudhakar, who had entered the House as he spoke, Siddaramaiah said, others who joined the Cabinet along with him recently were absent.
"Looks like they have lost interest in two days, what is this?" he quipped.
Intervening, Eshwarappa said, a few new Ministers were performing pooja at office alloted to them, and will soon be coming to the House.
Not impressed by the explanation, Siddaramaiah continued to ask as to whom should he speak to, when the treasury benches are "empty".
Pointing out that most of the senior Ministers, including the Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is the Minister concerned on the subject of law and order, was not present in the House, he asked the Speaker to issue directions to the government.
The Speaker, stating that such things have repeatedly happened during all past governments, said it was the responsibility of Ministers and MLAs to attend the House on time and participate in the proceedings.
"Without having self responsibility, it is difficult," he said and asked the chief whip to look into it. Meanwhile, as a few Ministers including Bommai entered
the House, Siddaramaiah pointed out that he was late.
Bommai then apologised to the Chair and the House for being late, when the matter related to his ministry was scheduled for discussion.
Chief Minister Yediyurappa too was slightly late to Assembly, as he had to attend an event in neighboring Tumakuru district in the morning.