Finance bills were on Wednesday passed amid din in the Karnataka Assembly before it was adjourned sine die as the sex scandal allegedly involving BJP leader and former Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi rocked the proceedings for the third consecutive day.
Opposition Congress members, who have been protesting from the well of the House since Monday afternoon, continued to disrupt the proceedings too with the Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah demanding a court-monitored probe into the scandal, and to book Jarkiholi for rape.
They also demand that six ministers, who have moved the court for an injunction against the publication or broadcast of any unverified news about them, resign, saying they are morally unfit.
Faced by continued disruption, the budget session of the Assembly that began on March 4, was adjourned sine die five days ahead of the schedule of March 31.
According to sources, the adjournment came amid reports that the Congress had planned to hold a protest at night by spending it in the Assembly from today pressing for their demand. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, whose reply on the budget discussion was continuously disrupted by the protesting legislators, condemned the Congress’ conduct by saying people were watching the developments and would teach it a lesson in the days to come.
As the House met for the day, Congress members trooped into the well of the House to continue with their protest by raising slogans against the government.
Senior BJP MLA K G Bopaiah, objecting to the protest, questioned the opposition as to how the government can ask the Chief Justice to monitor any probe. “Can the government write such a letter to the Chief Justice, judicial probe is a different matter,” he said.
As Congress members continued their protest with slogans like “Down, down BJP government”, “Down, down CD government”, some BJP legislators questioned the grand old party’s morality.
Intervening, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the Congress was unnecessarily disrupting the proceedings and infringing on the rights of the other members who want to participate, and that it was anti-democratic, anti-constitutional and against the laws.
Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar too said Congress should be ashamed of their conduct as he questioned their morality by accusing them of hushing up the sex scandal, involving former minister H Y Meti, while in power.
As his repeated requests for cooperation in conducting the business of the House went unheard, Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri said he was tabling the answers of the question hour, and requested the Chief Minister to begin his reply on the budget discussion.
Yediyurappa read out his reply to the budget discussion amid continued sloganeering by Congress MLAs against the government. At the end of his reply on the budget, Yediyurappa hit out the opposition Congress and its leaders for protesting and wasting time. all aimed at disrupting the budget session. “As they don’t have any issue they are doing it, I condemn it. People of the state are watching you and will teach a lesson in the days to come, you can’t achieve anything from it,” he said.
After the Chief Minister’s reply, the Speaker put the appropriation bills, supplementary estimates, and related financial bills, including Fiscal Responsibility (Amendment) Bill 2021 that were tabled, to vote, and they were passed amid din.
The Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was also passed by the assembly. Announcing that the budget and related finance bills have been passed, the Speaker said he was pained as the Congress members are not cooperating in conducting the proceedings. Noting that the passage of the budget and making the legislations are most important responsibilities on the members of this House, he said, “you not cooperating is unfortunate.”
“If you have a difference of opinion with the government you can do anything outside the House, allow it function,” he said. As his repeated appeals went in vein, the Speaker then adjourned the House for post-lunch.
As the House met post lunch Congress members continued to remain in the well, while R V Deshpande, a senior party MLA raised the issue of Health Minister K Sudhakar’s statement outside the assembly calling for investigation into personal lives of all 225 members of the state assembly to find out how many of them have had illicit or extra-marital relationships.
Siddaramaiah, noting that Sudhakar has made a sweeping statement on all 225 MLAs and specifically taken his name along with, Ramesh Kumar, Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy, said it amounts to breach of privilege of the House.
As Minister Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the statement was made to the media outside the Hhouse and it has nothing to do with the House or the government, also the context of in which it was made was not known, Siddaramaiah said Sudhakar is part of the government, he is the Minister.
Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri too expressed displeasure and said no one should speak lightly or in a way that it may create suspicion about the House or its members. He then read out the summary report of the budget session amid sloganeering by Congress MLAs and then adjourned the House sine die. PTI