Porngate ministers resign; barred from Assembly
BJP wary of sacrificing trio for fear of losing numbers
A day after hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons on Tuesday and putting the party to shame by watching porn clippings on a cellphone inside the Legislative Assembly, ministers – Lakshman Savadi, C C Patil and Krishna Palemar – resigned from the posts they held.
But they continue to be the MLAs as the ruling BJP, despite facing humiliation, is in no mood to sacrifice them as the members.
Realising that they can no longer survive as ministers with the Opposition parties baying for their blood, the trio submitted their resignation to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda a couple of hours before the Assembly session was set to begin on Wednesday morning.
This action in no way could bail out the ruling party as the Congress and the JD(S) vehemently demanded that Speaker K G Bopaiah disqualify the members. Savadi and Patil were caught by videographers while watching porn clippings on Palemar’s cellphone, in the House.
All three tainted former ministers kept off the House knowing well there would be strong protests from the Opposition for their presence. While Savadi and Patil entered Vidhana Soudha, Palemar did not make it. The three claimed that they voluntarily their submitted resignation as they were facing allegations and were confident that truth would prevail after a probe.
At the BJP Legislature Party meeting, former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa stood by the trio and demanded that no action be taken against them. Gowda also defended them in the House stating they had submitted their resignations as ministers
With both Houses of the legislature witnessing uproarious scenes over the sleaze episode, Bopaiah announced setting up a six-member special House Committee to probe the issue with the three former ministers barred from attending the proceedings of the Assembly till the committee submitted its report.
The committee, comprising representatives of all three political parties in the House, has to submit the report by March 12, 2012. Armed with all powers to probe the issue, the panel can take the assistance of the police and experts, if necessary. Appropriate action will be taken against them based on the report, the Speaker announced amidst pandemonium in the House.
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, however, declared that the committee was unconstitutional and said that his party will not associate itself with the panel. Opposition parties demanded that the Speaker immediately disqualify Savadi and Patil as they have admitted to watching the porn clip. The JD(S) is yet to decide on whether it would be part of the panel.
Besides, the Speaker said a show cause notice will be issued to the members and they have to reply to it before 10.30 am on February 13. Their replies will be forwarded to the committee for investigation.
Bopaiah said his decision to order a probe was on the lines of the one taken by former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on the cash-for-question scam in 2005.
“In order to maintain the sanctity of the House, the then Lok Sabha Speaker had not allowed any discussion on the scam till a House Committee submitted a report. I also have taken the same decision,” he stated. The show cause notice was issued to all three former ministers on Wednesday.
With Congress and JD(S) members staging protests in the well of the Assembly, not agreeing to settle for anything less than the disqualification of the members, the Speaker adjourned the House sine die, two days ahead of schedule. However, the Council will meet on Thursday.
It was complete chaos in both Houses of the Legislature on Wednesday. The porn watching incident dominated proceedings and no other issue was discussed. Soon after the Assembly met in the morning, Sadananda Gowda announced the resignation of the trio.
The porn watching incident dominated proceedings and no other issue was discussed. Soon after the Assembly met in the morning, Sadananda Gowda announced the resignation of the trio.
But an agitated Siddaramaiah asked the Speaker to disqualify them and also permit the police to file a criminal case under Section 292 of the IPC for obscenity. But the ruling party opposed the demand on technical grounds.
With the resignation of the three ministers, the State Cabinet strength has been reduced from 27 to 24 against the total permitted limit of 34. Both Yeddyurappa as the chief minister and his successor D V Sadananda Gowda have kept the berths vacant as there are too many aspirants for the berths.
Till late Wednesday evening the portfolios which were held by the trio – in all five – were not reallocated among other ministers.
The chief minister did not give any hint as to whether he would go for a Cabinet expansion or a reshuffle immediately. Savadi was Co-operation and Agricultural Marketing minister, while C C Patil was Women and Child Welfare minister.
Chronicles of Pornia
*Tainted trio Savadi, Patil and Palemar resign
*Opposition wants them disqualified
*CM says action only after inquiry