Members trade charges against each other in legislature over diary

BJP MLAs demand debate on issue, stage dharna in Assembly

Members trade charges against each other in legislature over diary

The issue of the controversial “payoff” diaries rocked both Houses of the Legislature on Thursday with the principal Opposition BJP and the ruling Congress trading charges against each other.

The BJP staged a dharna demanding a debate on the reported payment of huge sums of money to the Congress high command. But the ruling party members rejected the demand and countered the BJP by questioning its stand on the Sahara-Birla diary issue. The members, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Opposition leaders, indulged in heated exchanges.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar insisted that all ministers whose names are mentioned in Congress MLC K Govindraj’s diary should resign and a CBI probe should be ordered. The entries made in the diary prove rampant corruption in the government, he charged. 

Siddaramaiah said the Sahara-Birla diary also had sufficient evidence to prove that Narendra Modi had accepted kickbacks from corporate houses as Gujarat Chief Minister. “But the Supreme Court has ruled that diary entries are not conclusive evidence. Hence, there is no point debating such issues,” he charged.

The Speaker had disallowed the BJP’s attempt to move an adjournment motion against the government over the diary issue. He had announced that he would allow a discussion. However, Minister Ramesh Kumar argued that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the House to debate the diary. The diary is with the Income Tax Department. And officials of the department can’t be summoned to the House. Later, the Speaker announced that he would not allow any discussion on the issue. This led the BJP members to stage a dharna. 

The Assembly was adjourned abruptly as the BJP members persisted with their demand. The BJP members in the Upper House staged a walkout when their demand for a debate was not allowed. Council Chairman D H Shankaramurthy said he cannot allow the debate as prior notice was not given in this regard.

Opposition leader K S Eshwarappa said the entire country was discussing the diary and they be allowed to raise the issue in the House. The matter was of importance as entries in the diary indicated that Siddaramaiah took kickbacks to sanction the steel flyover project in Bengaluru.

Later Shettar told reporters that his party will continue staging dharnas demanding a debate on the issue.
DH News Service

Diary duo
Two MLCs who are facing trouble over diary entries faced each other in the Legislative Council on Thursday. MLCs K Govindaraj (Cong) and Lahar Singh (BJP) gestured and greeted each other much to the members’ amusement.

A little after Govindaraj entered the House, Singh tried to grab his attention by waving at him. Initially, Govindaraj did not notice him and had to be alerted by his party member Jayamala. Govindaraj acknowledged Singh and looked at the ceiling. Members who witnessed the exchange were all smiles.

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