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High Drama in Karnataka Assembly as Congressmen Forcefully Remove Deputy Chairman From Seat

Ruckus between BJP and Congress leaders over the chairman post during the Karnataka Legislative Council in Bengaluru, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Ruckus between BJP and Congress leaders over the chairman post during the Karnataka Legislative Council in Bengaluru, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (PTI Photo)

A few Congress members were seen forcefully opening the door through which the Chairman enters the house, accusing the ruling side of shutting it with an intention not to allow Pratapachandra Shetty to enter the House.

Pandemonium broke out at the Karnataka Legislative Council on Tuesday, as Deputy Chairman S L Dharme Gowda was literally pulled down from the Chairman's seat and the House was adjourned sine die without taking up any business. After it was adjourned sine die originally on December 10, the council was convened for a day by the government, accusing the Chairman K Pratapachandra Shetty of "abruptly" adjourning the session, for today. The special session of Council was convened over the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) .

Though the no-confidence motion against Shetty moved by the BJP members did not find mention in today's agenda, as the Chairman had rejected it citing procedural lapses, the ruling party members have been insisting that it should be taken up. As the House met for the day, Gowda occupied the Chairman's seat, which angered the Congress MLCs who rushed to the chair demanding that he vacate it, following which BJP and JD(S) members came to Shetty's protection.

Separately, few Congress members were seen forcefully opening the door through which the Chairman enters the house, accusing the ruling side of shutting it with an intention not to allow Shetty to enter the House. Congress members accused the government of trying to start the proceedings even before the Chairman could come, with the help of Gowda with an intention to take up the no- confidence motion against Shetty, which has been rejected by him.

Some Congress members, including M Narayanaswamy were seen forcefully pulling down the Deputy Chairman from the chair. Several members and marshals of the council were also allegedly manhandled in the melee, even as the Congress managed to make one of its members occupy the chair.

Several BJP and JD(S) MLCs objected to this and questioned whether the person occupying the Chair was among the panel members who could sit on it. After some time Chairman Pratapachandra Shetty entered the House and went up to the chair even as Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan tried to obstruct him from occupying it.

Shetty then announced that the house was adjourned sine die. Leader of opposition in the Council S R Patil alleged that the Deputy Chairman occupied the chair against the rules and procedures and it was against the constitution.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka, accusing the Congress of unruly behaviour in the House, said the government will soon announce its next course of action.

Congress Culture: Yediyurappa

Terming the ruckus in the Council as "Congress culture", Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday urged the upper house Chairman to resign immediately. The ruling BJP and JD(S), meanwhile, jointly sought the Governor's intervention for taking up the no-confidence motion against Shetty, who was elected to the post during the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

"The JD(S) has openly said they will not support the Chairman. After knowing that it lacks majority support, the Congress should have ensured that the Chairman resigns," Yediyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters here, Yediyurappa said once a no-confidence motion is tabled, according to legalities and experts, one is not eligible to take the chair and there are court orders to this effect. "It was publicly stated by us yesterday that the Deputy Chairman should conduct the proceedings as the no-confidence was against the Chairman himself.... also he (Chairman) and Congress party do not have majority support," he added.

Further condemning the act of forcefully removing the Deputy Chairman from the Chair, Yediyurappa said it depicts the Congress' culture. "Ask the Chairman to resign immediately and go, to conduct himself in a way that brings respect to the office he was holding," the Chief Minister said, adding the BJP and JD (S) have jointly petitioned the Governor for intervention.

A delegation of BJP and JD(S) leaders, including Deputy Chief Ministers Govind Karjol and Laxman Savadi, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Law Minister J C Madhuswamy, met Governor Vajubhai Vala and sought for his intervention and a specific direction to conduct the House and take up the no-confidence motion. "We have requested the Governor to use his Constitutional powers and give directions regarding the conduct of the Chairman, and to provide us an opportunity to take up the discussion on the no-confidence motion," he said.

The Governor has heard us, he was gathering opinion from experts on further course of action, he added. JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti, who was also part of the delegation, said they were completely with the ruling party on the issue as he accused the Chairman of trying to stick on to the chair, despite being aware that he does not enjoy majority support.

first published:December 15, 2020, 15:13 IST
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