Karnataka turmoil rocks Parliament for third day

The Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the issue

By TT Bureau in New Delhi
  • Published 11.07.19, 1:33 AM
  • Updated 11.07.19, 1:33 AM
  • 2 mins read
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JDS leader HD Deve Gowda (right) and Congress leader Siddaramaiah during a protest against the BJP in Bangalore on Wednesday (PTI)

The political turmoil in Karnataka rocked Parliament for the third day in a row with Congress members protesting uproariously on Wednesday, accusing the BJP of making a mockery of democracy, while the central government denied any role in the matter.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the issue. But the Congress mostly waged a lone battle.

While several other parties were with the Congress on the matter on Tuesday, none joined it when it picketed the well in the afternoon to try and prevent the Chair from conducting the discussion on the budget.

In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the subject of Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar being denied entry into a Mumbai hotel where most of the rebel MLAs had checked in.

“Martial law has been imposed in Maharashtra,” Adhir said. “Karnataka’s irrigation minister had booked a room in a Mumbai hotel. When he reached there today, the police didn’t allow him to enter. The hotel owner came and said, ‘Your booking has been cancelled’.”

Adhir accused the BJP of locking the Congress and JDS MLAs at the hotel.

“Sir, the MLAs have been forcibly taken there (the Mumbai hotel). A minister from the state is not being allowed to meet them. This is dirty conspiracy, (a) mockery of democracy,” Adhir said amid protests from BJP members.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi, who is from Karnataka, justified the Mumbai police’s action. He said the Congress-JDS MLAs had written to the Mumbai police commissioner that they feared a threat to their lives from Shivakumar, and that’s why he was not allowed to enter the hotel.

“They have given (it) in writing to the Mumbai police commissioner: ‘There is a threat to us from Shivakumar. Do not allow him’,” Joshi said.

He denied that the rebel MLAs had been taken to Mumbai forcibly, suggesting they may have gone there themselves since their resignations were not being accepted in Bangalore.

Joshi blamed the Congress for the crisis in Karnataka, repeating the taunt that defence minister Rajnath Singh had issued recently — that it was Rahil Gandhi’s resignation as Congress president that had started the resignation spree in his party.

Members of the Congress and some other Opposition parties such as the DMK, Nationalist Congress Party and the Trinamul Congress walked out of the House in protest.

In the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party and CPM members walked out during the budget discussion, pleading inability to participate in the din, while the Biju Janata Dal sought rescheduling of its turn when the House was in order.

The Congress remained agitated through the day, first trying to get the Chair to agree to suspend business to discuss the political crisis in Karnataka and then picketing the well.

An hour into the budget discussion in the afternoon, the government and the Congress arrived at an agreement through behind-the-scenes consultations to adjourn the proceedings for the day and resume the debate first thing on Thursday morning. The smaller parties appeared peeved at not being consulted.