Chavan episode: Congress, BJP stall Assembly with counter 'dharnas'

The Legislative Assembly plunged into a pandemonium on Thursday and proceedings were stalled until 3 p.m over the episode of BJP MLA Prabhu Chavan being caught on television cameras while he was inappropriately viewing a picture of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on his mobile phone, with members of the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP staging simultaneous dharnas in the House.

While Congress members demanded action against the erring MLA, the BJP, too, began a counter-protest insisting that similar action should be initiated against Housing Minister Ambareesh and Congress MLA S. S. Mallikarjun - who, too, have been accused of watching a video clip in the Assembly on Wednesday. This resulted in a stalemate, forcing Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa to adjourn the House till 3 p.m.

Earlier, as soon as the House met in the morning, Congress members assembled near the well of the House and demanded that disciplinary action be initiated against Mr. Chavan.

The Speaker announced that Mr. Chavan had met him in his chamber to seek permission to apologise to the House. “The MLA wept over his act and will make a statement to the House seeking apology,” the Speaker said.

However, the protesting Congress members objected to him being let out with a mere apology and demanded that nothing other than disciplinary action would assuage their hurt feelings. Janata Dal (S) member Y. S. V. Datta, too, endorsed their stand.

Law Minister T. B. Jayachandra described the BJP MLA’s act as a black spot in the legislature's history, saying society would now suspect the intentions of all legislators regardless of their political affiliations. He suggested that the Speaker should convene a meeting of floor leaders in his chamber to decide the nature of action to be initiated against Mr. Chavan.

Following this, the Speaker adjourned the House and met the floor leaders. The BJP, reacting to a few TV channels airing clips of Mr. Ambareesh and Mr. Mallikarjun watching videos on a mobile in the House on Tuesday, is learnt to have insisted that action should be taken against the two Congress members, too.

Congress leaders countered it saying that their party colleagues were not watching objectionable clippings.

When the House met after the meeting, both the ruling and BJP members began simultaneous dharnas in support of their respective demands, leading to a furore. The Speaker adjourned the proceedings till 3 p.m.

Later, leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar told reporters that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had insisted at the meeting that Mr. Chavan should be suspended from the House for a couple of days. "The BJP does not have any objection to this. But we want similar punishment for the erring Congress leaders too," he said.

To a query, Mr. Shettar said the state BJP was also considering initiating disciplinary action against Mr. Chavan from its organisation for his objectionable conduct. It had already briefed the party high command about the episode.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 7:29:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/viewing-priyanka-congress-bjp-stall-assembly-with-counter-dharnas/article6682556.ece

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