Karnataka Legislative Council Session: BJP & JD(S) Wrestle it out With Congress to Occupy Chair

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Bengaluru: Chaos prevailed in the Karnataka Legislative Council when Deputy Chairman S.L. Dharme Gowda occupied the chair even before the house bell stopped ringing on Tuesday. Angered over this, the Congress members tried to drag him off his chair in unprecedented scenes in a one-day sitting of the state’s upper house, in Bengaluru on Dec 15, 2020. As the house bell rang, Deputy Chairman Gowda of the Janata Dal (S), occupied the chair and closed the entrance to prevent the Chairman entering the house as a result of which pandemonium broke out with Congress members pushing Gowda from his seat while BJP leaders tried to ensure he remained seated on the chair. (Photo: IANS)

BENGALURU – Utter chaos prevailed in the Karnataka Legislative Council when the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council, S. L. Dharme Gowda occupied the Chairman’s chair even before the House bell stopped ringing on Tuesday and angry over this, the Congress members tried to drag and push him off his chair while the ruling BJP members tried to make him sit the chair in an unprecedented manner in a one-day sitting of the state’s upper house.

The one-day session had been called after the ruling BJP approached governor Vajjubhai R. Vala, requesting him to reconvene the council so that its chairman K. Prathapchandra Shetty, who belongs to Congress, could be removed after they secured tacit support of the JD(S).

BJP had earlier served a notice of no-confidence but the council chairman, Shetty had adjourned the house sine die,on December 10, saying it had not met the minimum 14 day-rule requirement.

After the BJP went to the governor, a one-day session of the council to remove the chairman (although this had not found mention in today’s agenda) as well as pass the controversial Cow slaughter ban Bill was to be taken up for consideration.

Of the 75 members in the upper house, BJP has 31 and the support of an independent, while Congress has 29 including the chairman and the regional Janta Dal (Secular) has 14 members.

The JDS had expressed support to the BJP’s move to oust the Chairman, while it had been vehemently opposing the ruling BJP’s contentious Cow slaughter ban Bill.

When the house convened on Tuesday morning, deputy chairman S. L. Dharame Gowda occupied the chairman’s chair with Congress MLCs rushing to push him out of the same.

Even as chairman Shetty tried to enter and occupy the chair, BJP MLCs objected, saying he couldn’t preside over a no-confidence motion against himself.

However, Congress members led by its leader in council, S. R. Patil, said that the no-confidence motion had been rejected by the chairman’s secretariat for procedural lapses and nobody else except Shetty could preside over the house.

This led to uproarious scenes with members cutting across the party lines physically pushing and shoving between various leaders.

Congress MLC Narayanaswamy, who is not in the panel of Chairman post was seen pushing Gowda out of the chair and occupying it.

Shetty declared the house adjourned sine die again.

Hitting out at the Congress, Chief minister B. S. Yediyurappa said that even after knowing that the Congress does not enjoy the confidence of the house, it is unfortunate that the Congress and Shetty have behaved in this manner.

“After being served a no-confidence motion, how can the person against who it has been served preside over it?” the CM questioned angrily.

Answering to a question why the BJP directed the Dy. Chairman to occupy the chair even as the bell was ringing, the CM countered it stating that do they (Congress) have numbers is a moot question and not who sat there first.

While condemning the BJP, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, D. K. Sivakumar questioned the motive of the ruling BJP directing the deputy speaker to occupy the post and closing the entrance to prevent the Chairman from entering the house?

“The trigger for such uproarious scenes was from their side and not from us. They should have allowed the Chairman to occupy the post and then they should have placed their demand. Was the no-confidence motion against the Chairman listed in the agenda?” he questioned.

Whereas, leader of the opposition, Siddaramaiah charged that Karnataka law and parliamentary affairs minister, J. C. Madhuswamy himself instigated his party leaders to attack Congress party members.

“According to rules, Dy. Chairman can occupy the chair only in the event the Chairman directs him or if the latter is on tour or unavailable for the call of duty. The BJP has grossly breached protocols and insulted constitutional posts,” he alleged.

JDS leader Basavaraj Horatti said that they would support the ruling BJP to oust the chairman, who, he claimed, continued to preside over the house despite ‘having lost the confidence of the house’.

The Legislative Council security staff or marshals, who were present in the House in full force, were completely unable to control the unruly members as the Congress, BJP and JD(S) jostled and pushed one another unmindful of the gentle efforts of the marshals.

Both Congress and BJP members indulged in heated arguments even after the House was adjourned.

Later a delegation of BJP MLCs met with the governor and submitted a memorandum, accusing the chairman of violating all constitutional norms and rejecting the motion of no-confidence without providing any proper reasons.

They requested the governor to direct the reconvening of the house so that the no-confidence motion may be discussed. -IANS

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