BELAGAVI: Both the Houses of the State legislature had to be adjourned for the day on Thursday without transacting much business as there was stalemate over Wednesday’s episode of BJP MLA Prabhu Chavan being caught on TV cameras zooming in on a picture of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on his mobile phone.
While the ruling Congress members resorted to a dharna demanding action against Mr. Chavan, the Opposition BJP began a counter-protest demanding that similar action be initiated against Housing Minister M.H. Ambareesh and Congress MLA S.S. Mallikarjun, who have been accused of watching a video clip in the Assembly on Wednesday as shown by certain TV channels. This resulted in a deadlock.
As soon as the Assembly met in the morning, Congress members assembled near the well of the House and demanded disciplinary action against Mr. Chavan. Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa announced that Mr. Chavan, who met him in his chamber, had wept and said that he would tender an apology to the House. However, the protesting Congress members objected to Mr. Chavan being let off with a mere apology and demanded that only disciplinary action would assuage their “hurt feelings”. The Speaker adjourned the House to hold a meeting with the floor leaders in his chambers.
At the meeting, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reportedly insisted that the BJP MLA should be suspended from the House for a couple of days. But the BJP leaders insisted that even the two Congress members too should be subjected to similar punishment. However, the Congress leaders countered this by pointing out that their members were not watching any objectionable clippings.
After prolonged consultations, Congress leaders agreed to settle for an apology from the BJP MLA. But the talks failed as the BJP made it clear that its MLA would not apologise unless the two Congress members too apologised.
The House reassembled only to be adjourned for the day as the stalemate continued. There was high drama as even Janata Dal (S) members staged a protest demanding that the House resolve this stalemate and continue with the proceedings. With this, the Chief Minister’s reply on the issue related to non-payment of sugarcane growers’ dues by sugar factories was put off. The only transaction that took place in the Council was that of adopting a resolution congratulating Nobel laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai.
Outside the legislature, Mahila Congress and Seva Dal members demanded that the Governor disqualify Mr. Chavan for his alleged objectionable behaviour.