The Karnataka Legislature's reputation for decorum and decency lay in tatters on Monday after a crucial trust vote was marred by violence and pandemonium. Belligerent legislators, cutting across party affiliations, fought one other and law enforcement officials in a free-for-all that drew both blood and obscenities.
In a first for the House, khaki-clad policemen, led by Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar M. Bidari were summoned by Speaker K.G. Bopaiah to bring the legislators in line. The presence of the policemen infuriated Opposition members.
The motion of confidence was adopted by voice vote in a matter of moments, with the Speaker announcing that the B.S. Yeddyurappa government had won, much to the anger and disbelief of the Opposition parties. A number of outsiders were present in the Assembly when the all-important confidence motion was moved. The strong, teak entry door for the Opposition members was pushed open by a section of the legislators despite the presence of police personnel and the white-uniformed marshals normally deployed on security duty when the legislature is in session.
Chaos ruled the Vidhana Soudha — the seat of the Government Secretariat and the legislature — for a large part of the forenoon with legislators brazenly giving vent to their anger over the disqualification of 16 MLAs, including five Independents.
In fact, the five Independents first gained entry into the Assembly hall and stood on tables and chairs, shouting. While some broke microphones, others wielded chairs as weapons. Earlier, the Speaker had ordered the removal of flower pots and water canisters as a precautionary measure.
The Janata Dal (Secular) legislators and some BJP rebels were driven to the Vidhana Soudha in a bus on their arrival from Chennai earlier in the day. They shattered the beautifully etched glass at the Assembly gate to protest denial of entry. In the pell-mell that followed, the legislators pushed the policemen and forced their way into the hall. Goolihatti Shekar, who was a Minister in the Yeddyurappa government until recently, showered abuses at the ruling party legislators from his perch on a chair.
Not to be outdone, Minister for Home R. Ashok shouted threats at the Opposition legislators on the outer periphery of the Assembly hall before he was pulled aside by his party colleagues.
16 marshals injured
H.C. Mahadevappa, Congress MLA, was injured in the hand. As many as 16 members on the marshal staff (who are all policemen in specified uniform) were injured. A case has since been registered.
Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh and Mr. Bidari waited patiently and refrained from reacting to all the provocation by the Opposition legislators who were all in a rage against the Speaker's action, which resulted in the ruling party members outnumbering them on the floor of the Assembly.
The city police have discharged their duty as per the law of the land and as per the request and instructions received from the Speaker, Mr. Bidari said and defended his staff saying, “they have not committed any mistake.”