A lesson in discipline for MLCs

Course correction

The workshop titled ‘Prashikshana Shibira’ initiated by Council chairman D H Shankarmurthy was organised to instill discipline among the members during the House proceedings. However, subjects including the history of the Upper House, the role of the legislators while formulating the budget, and the responsibilities of the members were also taken up by speakers including Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister Suresh Kumar and BJP MP D B Chandre Gowda.

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who inaugurated the day-long workshop at Alliance University in Chandapura, hoped that the workshop would ensure that the proceedings of the House would henceforth be conducted without any commotion or disarray.

“It has become a mammoth task to conduct the House peacefully. There is much indiscipline, and I am afraid that if this trend continues, the impression about politicians among the people will only worsen. It is very unfortunate that there are hardly any meaningful debates these days,” he said.

Gowda said that the Legislative Council, which used to enjoy the reputation of conducting the House in order, was, however, losing it. It was important for the members to show their magnanimity by keeping their egos aside and participating in the debates. Of the 75 MLCs, 63 were present during the workshop.

‘iPad not a bribe’

Shankarmurthy who announced that the chief minister had okayed the distribution of Apple’s iPad 2 to all members of the Upper House, said that the modern communication equipment would ‘improve the communication skills of the legislators’ and help them better their debating skills during the legislature proceedings. Each iPad costs Rs 45,000.

 “Don’t think of it as a bribe. I have nothing to gain out of it. My grandson makes fun of me because I don’t even know how to use the mobile phone properly. We need to change. With this gadget, you can sit in your home and access the e-library of the State legislature, or even that of Parliament, as we are in the process of linking the libraries. A separate workshop will be conducted to demonstrate the use of iPads,” he said.

Congress veteran M V Rajashekaran (83) who was presented with the iPad along with Leader of the Opposition in the Council Motamma, said that with the assistance of advanced technology, the legislators could become more efficient.

“We have to embrace any new technology which will help us perform our duties better.” But, will he feel comfortable using such a gadget? “I am still a student and yes, I wouldn’t mind learning to operate the gadget,” the chief minister said.
Motamma’s response was, however, a little hesitant. “There was no need for the iPads, but now that we have received the gadget, we will put it to good use,” she added.

Venue, a bone of contention

Choosing Alliance University as a venue to conduct an orientation workshop for the MLCs has not gone well with the JD (S) leaders. Before Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda began addressing the gathering on Wednesday, the management of Alliance University began making a presentation on the varisty and its achievements. Raising objection, a section of the JD (S) MLCs said the workshop was deviating from the agenda.

“Have we come here to listen to Harikathe? Dont’ we have any other work?,” asked angry Krishnappa, and JD(S) MLC.The presentation was stopped immediately and the programme continued.  Later, Krishanappa and Nagaraj  told Deccan Herald  that it was a bad taste on the part of the government to select the university as the venue for the workshop.

“The opposition had opposed Alliance University Bill in both Houses vehemently. But the government pushed through the bill. Now, they have brought us all here to show the University, hoping that it will get some publicity.

They shouldn’t have cheated us like this,” said the JD (S) leaders.

The State government granted permission to Alliance Business School Pvt Ltd to run a private university, by passing the Alliance University Bill amidst hullabaloo in Upper and Lower Houses last July. The Opposition leaders had alleged that the permission was illegal, as the guideline had been violated. In the Assembly, the Bill was passed without debate.

The University presented Rs 10 lakh to the CM’s relief fund.

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