Bengaluru: Congress members on Thursday staged a protest in the Karnataka Assembly against Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri’s decision to hold a special discussion ”One Nation, One Election”, terming it as “RSS agenda”.
As Congress alleged that discussion on the topic was being taken up against the rules and unilaterally without their consent, the Speaker hit back stating that the opposition was backing off at the last minute after having submitted the list of names of members who will participate in the debate from their side.
Congress members termed the move to take up the discussion on the subject as “dictatorial, fascist, Hitler attitude and part of RSS agenda.”
Speaker Kageri had earlier said the discussion on ”One Nation, One Election” was being held following the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting of Speakers of legislative assemblies held in Gujarat.
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Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah questioned under which rule the discussion on the topic was being taken up, and according to him it cannot be taken up.
Stating that though the Speaker had communicated to him about the discussion on the topic over the phone and at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meetings earlier, he said his party had not agreed for the discussion.
The Speaker said he can allow such special discussions using his residual powers and pointed out that a similar special discussion was held on the constitution, during the previous sessions.
Siddaramaiah said, ”One Nation, One Election” is regarding synchronising assembly and parliamentary election, and it was not a matter limited to the state.
Stating that Speaker”s residual powers should be limited only to special circumstances, Ramesh Kumar (Cong), a former Speaker, said the topic here was regarding elections and there were provisions for it under electoral reforms.
Intervening, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said, the discussion on ”One Nation, One Election” was being taken up after discussions at the BAC meetings. “If anyone has any opposition express it during the debate,” he said and requested the Speaker to make his introductory remarks.
Even as senior Congress MLA H K Patil raised a point of order, Speaker Kageri, not taking it into consideration, started reading out his introductory speech.
Angered by the Speaker”s move and calling it dictatorial, Congress members trooped into the well of the House.
Siddaramaiah said, “We will not allow this discussion to happen.”
“This is the RSS agenda, this is a hidden agenda, we are moving towards dictatorship.The Central government and the Prime Minister want to be dictator,” he added. Despite Congress members” raising slogans against him accusing him of murdering democracy, disrespecting the constitution and calling him an agent of RSS, the Speaker continued his speech that stressed the need for the debate on ”One Nation, One Election”, as repeated elections hamper the functioning of the government and delays developmental work.
After his speech, he pointed out to Siddaramaih that he had got the list of 19 people willing to talk on the topic from the Congress side, and said backtracking and disrupting at the last minute was not right.
As Congress continued the protest, Yediyurappa made his short remarks in support of the debate on the topic, stating that it will help administrative machinery to function efficiently.
Hitting out at the Congress, Yediyurappa said the opposition members do not have trust in anything and they were not interested in discussion also.
“Your act of protesting everything is shameful, people of the state won’t forgive you….stop it,” he said.
Despite the Speaker’s request to the opposition to participate in the debate and express their views, Congress members did not relent and continued with their agitation from the well of the House.
Intervening, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavarj Bommai said, two days” discussion on ”One Nation, One Election” was mentioned in the agenda as agreed in the BAC.
Few people can’t hold the house to ransom, and there was no room for any point of order, he said, as Congress members shouted that the point of order by their colleague H K Patil, questioning a letter sent to members by the assembly secretary asking them to stick to the topic during the discussion, be taken up.
Patil later told reporters that he wanted to question the Secretary’s authority in issuing such “directions” to members.