BJP stages dharna, says government is shielding lawbreakers

Congress MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar’s disappearance after allegedly assaulting police constables two days ago, disrupted the Legislative Assembly on Friday. The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party staged a vociferous dharna accusing the government of shielding “lawbreakers”.

As soon as the House met in the morning, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar pointed out that the government was yet to give a reply on the Kashappanavar episode though the issue had been raised by him in the House the previous day.

BJP members trooped into the well of the House and began a dharna demanding that the government immediately reply to the issue. However, Home Minister K.J. George maintained that as per rules, the government could take three days to reply to the issue raised during Zero Hour. This enraged the BJP members who started shouting slogans, forcing Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa to adjourn the House for some time.

When the House re-assembled, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra said the government was ready to reply on the issue. But the reply would be made only after completion of Question Hour. However, the BJP members insisted that other business, including the Question Hour, should be taken up only after replying to the Kashappanavar issue.

This resulted in a stalemate as Mr. Siddaramaiah took a tough stand by maintaining that it would set a bad precedent if the reply to the issue raised during Zero Hour was made by setting aside other issues on the agenda.

“In my 30-year-career in the legislature, I have never seen violation of such rules,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Though the Speaker allowed Question Hour for a brief time amid the dharna, he adjourned the House till Monday after Congress member Ramesh Kumar expressed concern that it was not proper to continue the proceedings when the House was not in order.