‘Recommendation to suspend MLAs is an effort to safeguard Government'
The Opposition parties have termed the tabling of a notice by the Bharatiya Janata Party to remove Legislative Council Deputy Chairman Puttanna, elected on the Janata Dal (Secular) ticket, as violation of the State's legislature tradition.
The BJP has maintained that it has tabled the notice as it has now got majority in the Upper House and it is only natural that its candidates should get the post. Besides, the ruling party has also cited Mr. Puttanna's public outbursts against its educational policies and his alleged bias towards the Janata Dal (Secular) despite holding the deputy presiding officer's post as the main reason for tabling the notice.
But the Opposition parties have taken exception to this. Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson Y.S.V. Datta told The Hindu that it was the first instance in Karnataka legislature in which a notice to remove the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House has been moved just because the ruling party had majority.
Referring to the BJP's defence that it had now got majority in the House, Mr. Datta pointed out that there was a similar instance in 1979-80 (when Mr. Devaraj Urs was Chief Minister) when Mr. Krishna Iyer who had been elected on the Opposition Janata Party ticket was Deputy Chairman though the Congress, which was then in power had majority in the Council. But the then Chief Minister Devaraj Urs had continued Mr. Iyer as Deputy Chairman till the completion of his tenure.
Mr. Datta maintained that the action of tabling of notice to remove Mr. Puttanna had set a bad precedent in the State Legislature.
He also ridiculed the recommendation by the Appachu Ranjan-led House committee to suspend several Opposition MLAs from the House. “This is an effort by Mr. Yeddyurappa to protect his chair if the ongoing case related to disqualification of rebel MLAs goes against the BJP,” he alleged.
Mr. Datta alleged that all these instances had shown that the Government was trying to gag the Opposition parties. He sought to remind Mr. Yeddyurappa that a stalwart like Mr. Devaraj Urs respected the views of the Opposition even though he had got a thumping majority of 180 Assembly seats. “Mr. Yeddyurappa is trying to suppress the Opposition though he has got only a wafer-thin majority. He would have behaved like a dictator if people had given him a huge majority like Mr. Urs or S.M. Krishna”
Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Appachu Ranjan denied allegations that the committee led by him had been pressured by the government to give a report against the Opposition MLAs.
He claimed that there was a similar instance of Maharashtra Sssembly suspending some Shiv Sena MLAs for throwing papers in the House.