Cong MLAs refuse to pose questions to 6 Ministers during Assembly session

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Bengaluru, Mar 16 (PTI) Opposition Congress legislators in Karnataka on Tuesday said they will not pose any questions to Ministers who have obtained injunction against the telecast or publication of any defamatory material against them, labeling them as 'immoral'.

At least two Congress legislators- Hoovina Hadagali MLA P T Parameshwar Naik and Varuna MLA Yathindra Siddaramaiah refused to pose questions to Minister for Youth Empowerment and Sports, Planning, Program monitoring and Statistics Narayana Gowda, during question hour.

This took place even as Gowda was present in the House and was ready to reply to their questions.

Gowda is among the six Ministers who got a temporary injunction from the court earlier this month against media organisations from telecasting or publishing any defamatory and unverified news items against them.

The other Ministers are: Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Agriculture Minister B C Patil, Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar, Health Minister K Sudhakar, and Urban Development Minister Bhyrathi Basavaraj.

They had approached the court for an injunction after one of their colleagues Ramesh Jarkiholi, resigned as a minister earlier this month amid allegations of sexual harassment after the emergence of a purported sex video allegedly involving him, which he has termed as 'fake'.

Last week, another Congress MLA from Chamarajanagar, Puttaranga Shetty had refused to pose a question to Gowda in the Assembly, stating that the Minister had 'no moral right.' The episode saw a verbal duel between Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Parameshwar Naik, and Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri losing his cool in the Assembly.

As his turn came to pose the question, despite Narayana Gowda being ready to give a reply, Naik said he had put the question before the Minister had gone to the court to get an injunction, and that he has lost the morality now.

'...he (Minister) doesn't have the morality to give a replay in the House. It has been decided by our party also, we will not pose any questions to the ministers who have lost morality,' he said.

Gowda hit back stating that the legislator does not have the right to question him.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai taking serious objection to Naik's comment said, it was not right, everyone has the right constitutionally to protect their honour, and people exercise it when the time comes.

'Didn't anyone from your side (Congress) get an injunction in the past?' he asked the Congress MLA.

When Naik retorted and questioned about Ministers allegedly involved in the immoral act, continuing in the Ministry, and asked 'do you in the government have morality', Bommai quipped 'what had happened when you (Naik) were the Minister?' This led to a heated exchange between the two, as Naik was seeking to know the reason why some Ministers got the injunction, while Bommai said, 'it is their right to go to court, who are you (Naik) or what right do you have to question it.' Several other BJP legislators too took strong exception to Naik's conduct, leading to chaos in the House.

As his repeated attempts to bring the House to order failed, Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri lost his cool and admonished Naik for his conduct and wasting the time of the House.

'If you don't want to ask the question don't, but don't waste the time of the House...take your seat,' the Speaker said, raising from his chair and pointing out that this was for the first time he was on his toes in the Assembly, since taking over.

'There is a limit for everything, what do you think of this House? Do you think this is a joke? Don't you have the courtesy to listen to the Chair and respect it? Don't you have the basic sense? I wont tolerate it,' Kageri fumed.

Senior Congress legislator and former Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara intervened and said every one has great respect for the Chair and if Naik has behaved in a way that has caused pain to the Speaker it was not right, and tried to resolve things.

Despite this as Naik and Bommai tried to clarify their position, the Speaker continued the question hour, taking up the next question.

However, Congress MLA from Narasimharaja Assembly constituency Tanveer Sait, whose name was first in the question hour list today, had posed his question to Gowda and got the reply.PTI KSU SS PTI PTI