Karnataka

Parties play the blame game

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The Congress and the BJP were at loggerheads again with both pointing the finger at the other following the Prabhu Chavan episode

What happened in the Legislative Assembly in December 2012 with the three BJP Ministers watching porn and the consequences of that is history.

Though not exactly of the same magnitude, Prabhu Chavan, BJP MLA from Aurad in Bidar district, who was suspended from the Assembly for a day for looking at a photo of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during the winter session in Belagavi, had kicked up a row. The ruling Congress and the main Opposition BJP have locked horns over the issue on the floor in both Houses.

What could have been solved easily with the member in question just needing to apologise to the House took a different twist, apparently at the intervention of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Emboldened by the Chief Minister’s statements that a mere apology would not be enough, the Congress demanded the suspension of the member from the House. To counter the Congress, BJP pointed the finger at Housing Minister M.H. Ambareesh and Congress MLA S.S. Mallikarjun who were found watching clippings on a cellphone in the House. The JD(S) has termed the episode involving the BJP MLA “shameful and unpardonable”.

With the cellphone issue becoming a major point of debate in the Assembly, the Speaker banned the use of cellphones in the House to ensure the discussion stayed on issues related to people. Will our legislators learn lessons from this episode?

Family and staff first!

Information Technology and e-governance Secretary Srivatsa Krishna literally took centre stage at the launch of the multi-mode mobile governance platform — Karnataka MobileOne — the State’s new e-governance initiative with over 4,000 services.

Mr. Krishna, who was reportedly pulled up by IT/BT Minister S.R. Patil for his style of functioning last month, welcomed the gathering and also gave the vote of thanks. The Secretary thanked a whole lot of dignitaries on and off the dais. He thanked his team at the e-governance department who were part of the MobileOne project by naming them individually. He remembered to thank his wife, Gunjan Krishna, IAS officer, who he said was instrumental in giving shape to the project, 13 months ago.

Mr. Krishna also thanked his mother, who attended the function. But he failed to thank President Pranab Mukherjee, the first citizen of the country, who launched MobileOne, and Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, who was present.

Realising the mistake of the IAS officer, several people who attended the programme were heard murmuring that the function had virtually turned into a “family show of Mr. Krishna.”

Officials bear the brunt

While the ongoing winter session of the State Legislature has been marred by protests and counter protests by the ruling and Opposition parties, it did have moments when all the members spoke in single voice and that was against officials. Members cutting across party lines raised their voice against officials whom they thought had overstepped and the result was two privilege motions being moved in the first four days of the legislature session. While the former Speaker K.G. Bopaiah moved a privilege motion against Kodagu District Superintendent of Police Vartika Katiyar in the Assembly, Pratap Chandra Shetty (Congress) and Kota Srinivas Poojary (BJP) jointly moved privilege motion against Udupi Deputy Commissioner R. Vishal in the Council.

On both occasions, the members were vociferous in their demand to summon the officers before the House to censure them. In fact in their bid to ‘teach’ the officials a lesson, a few members demanded immediate action instead of referring the matter to the Privilege Committee.

However, Deputy Speaker Shivashankar Reddy and Council Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy declined to entertain their demand and referred the issues to the Privilege Committee.

Flip-flop over Kambala

The issue of banning Kambala (buffalo races in slush) has apparently forced the State’s executive to think quite differently about it compared to their views on it just a few weeks ago. Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, who had first announced that Kambala events can go ahead as usual, changed his stance when the Animal Welfare Board of India emailed him that Kambalas constituted cruelty to animals and the sport had to be banned. Going back, he hurriedly banned them.

For the authorities, who had released funds earlier at the behest of politicians for a Rs. 1.5-crore Kambala stadium in Miyar in Udupi district, it was time to fall in line with the Supreme Court order against using animals for sport and entertainment. The politicians, who have been promising that they would work towards lifting the ban, now find it difficult to explain the official stand before the High Court. Now, the Union government has told the High Court to allow Kambalas for now with some riders in the two coastal districts. Two Ministers from the region — Abhayachandra Jain and B. Ramanath Rai — are sure to face the ire of those in favour of Kambala, unless they come out with a convincing answer.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2020 4:30:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/parties-play-the-blame-game/article6691444.ece

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