Bangalore: The Congress came under attack from Opposition members in the Council on Thursday, over the alleged unruly behaviour of Hungund MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar at a bar in Bangalore on Wednesday night.
The BJP staged a dharna demanding that the MLA should be booked under the Goonda Act and that he should be arrested.
The BJP members, led by its leader K S Eshwarappa, trooped into the well of the House when the government sought time to reply on the issue raised by BJP’s M B Bhanuprakash in the Zero Hour.
Home Minister K J George was not present in the House. Leader of the House S R Patil maintained that the government needs time at least till Friday to give a reply.
George and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah were present in the House before the issue was raised in the House.
Though KPCC chief G Parameshwara was present in the House, he did not try to defend the government.
“The government appears to be trying to protect the guilty MLA and rowdies associated with him. Why is the government hesitating to reply on the issue? All newspapers have reported the incident, but the government still appears to be in the dark,” Eshwarappa said.
Patil said that the reply to an issue raised in the Zero Hour can be given in three days’ time as per the rule book. Hence, the Opposition party cannot force the government to reply immediately.
Other members on the treasury benches supported Patil, saying that the rules should be followed.
Bhanuprakash alleged that the government was trying to protect the MLA on the pretext of following the rule book.
“It is a serious issue. The government should have suo motu made a statement on the issue, if it had any responsibility,” he said.
Though the Home Minister later came to the Council, he did not make a statement. Like the leader of the House, he also sought time.
“I am not ready to give any sort of a reply now. I have instructed my officials to prepare a response and it will be submitted to the House by Friday morning. The government does not, and need not, protect anyone. Let the law take its course and allow this House to continue,” he said.
With the BJP sticking to its stand and continuing its protest, the chairman was forced to adjourn the House for the day.
In the Assembly, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar made a vain bid to raise the issue soon after the House met.
He said the MLA’s behaviour was a disrespect to the House. He also mentioned the incident involving Congress MLA Byrati Basavaraj, who had reportedly slapped a traffic police recently.
BJP member Sunil Kumar pointed out that Minister Abhayachandra Jain reportedly hit an auto driver. Such incidents would leave the police demoralised, he said.