Protests by the Congress, who are demanding the sacking of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa and that he be booked for sedition over a statement on the national flag, continued to rock the Assembly proceedings in Karnataka for the fourth consecutive day on Monday.
The Assembly also saw passage of four bills amidst the din, and Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri took strong exception to Congress members ”unnecessarily” bringing in RSS’ name during their protest in the well of the House.
The ‘day-and-night’ protests by the legislators whereby they spend the night inside the Assembly began on Thursday demanding Eshwarappa’s dismissal.
Recently, Eshwarappa had claimed ‘Bhagwa dhwaj’ (saffron flag) may become the national flag some time in the future and the same may be hoisted on the Red Fort then.
He however had said the tricolour is the national flag now, and it should be respected by everyone.
As the House met for the day, Congress members trooped into the well of the House and started shouting slogans demanding action against Eshwarappa.
Slogans like – ”Down, down BJP”, ”Suspend Eshwarappa”, ”Eshwarappa desha drohi (traitor)”, ”Down Down desha drohi BJP government”, ”Speaker give justice”, ”This government is RSS’ puppet”, ”We want constitution, not Manuvada” – among others marred the proceedings.
Despite protest, Speaker Kageri took up the question hour with no Congress legislator taking part in it.
Then, amidst the din, the assembly also passed four bills – The Karnataka Civil Services (Validation of Selection and Appointment of 2011 batch Gazetted Probationers) Bill, 2022; The Karnataka Stamp (Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Karnataka Stamp (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022; The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1944, (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2022 – without any discussions.
After the passage of bills, the Speaker asked former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah to participate in the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address, and called on Congress members to go back to their seats, which went unheard by the principal opposition party members, who in turn demanded ”justice” from him.
The Speaker said several attempts have been made by him for the smooth conduct of the proceedings of the house, by calling a meeting of the Leader of the House (CM Basavaraj Bommai) and Leader of Opposition, along with other senior leaders, but it has failed.
”Difference of opinion is common in a democracy, but we are duty bound to conduct the proceedings of this House. If the government has not agreed to your demands, protest outside and cooperate to run the House. We have to discuss developmental issues, issues of the people here,” he said.
JD(S) deputy leader Bandeppa Kashempur said his party has 31 members and wants to raise several key issues concerning the people of the state and farmers, and they should be given an opportunity.
Meanwhile, when Congress members raised slogans taking the RSS’ name, Speaker Kageri took strong exception to this. ”I want to say to Congress members very strongly – unnecessarily, why are you bringing in the RSS’ name. How is RSS responsible for this? Don’t repeatedly bring RSS’ name unnecessarily,” he said.
”RSS is an organisation with a nationalist ideology, they are working towards uniting Hindus. You have to cooperate in their efforts. Don’t bring RSS name, if you have political differences, set it right,” Kageri added.
As chaos continued, the Speaker then adjourned the House for Tuesday.