25 Mar 2021: Karnataka Minister dares MLAs to take 'monogamy test,' gets criticized
Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar sparked a row on Wednesday as he challenged all his colleagues in the state legislative Assembly to come clean on their extramarital relationships by undergoing what he called the "monogamy test."
His statement invited scathing reactions from Opposition leaders as well as his own partymen, after which the Minister offered a clarification.
Here are more details.
Statement: 'Let all 225 of us face inquiry'
"This is an open challenge from me to those who think that they are Sathya Harishchandras. Let all the 225 of us face an inquiry...It is the question of morality and values," Sudhakar said on Wednesday.
"Let the people of the State know if they have any illicit relationship and extra-marital affairs (sic)," he further said.
Details: 'Opposition leaders are practicing monogamy strictly, right?'
Referring to Opposition leaders including Siddaramaiah and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Sudhakar said, "They are all 'Satya Harishchandras' and practicing monogamy strictly in their life, isn't it?"
He made the statement in reaction to the Congress' protest in the Karnataka Assembly over the past two days demanding the resignation of six Ministers, including him, for a gag order on the media.
Criticism: Sudhakar's comments drew criticism from many
Sudhakar's comments drew criticism from many across party lines.
State Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri slammed the bizarre challenge, saying, "Nobody should make such statements which bring disrepute to the House and its members."
Meanwhile, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, "The statement amounts to breach of privilege of MLAs. Let the government order an inquiry against all 225 MLAs," he said.
Fact: 'What will people think of us?'
"The 225 MLAs include you (Speaker), me...It is a matter of our honor. I have worked in this house for 30-32 years, I am pained...There are women MLAs in 225, what will people think of us," Congress MLA RV Deshpande reportedly said.
Clarification: Sudhakar later said he 'regretted' his comment
However, after facing flak, Sudhakar said that he "regretted" his comment.
"No one bothered when Congress deliberately tried to defame six Ministers. But my statement asking them to introspect has hurt some. I request them not to take my statement literally but understand the pain and anguish of my words (sic)," he was quoted as saying.
Context: What triggered the entire controversy?
Sudhakar and five other state Ministers had recently approached the court seeking an injunction against the publication or broadcast of any unverified news about them.
They made this move after one of their colleagues - Ramesh Jarkiholi - resigned earlier this month after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.
Jarkiholi, however, has denied the allegations against him.