Rahul Gandhi raises slogans in LS over Karnataka issue

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday raised slogans in Lok Sabha over the developments in Karnataka. PTI file photo

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday raised slogans in Lok Sabha over the developments in Karnataka.

This is for the first time that Gandhi was seen raising slogans in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Gandhi arrived in the House at noon. At that time Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was raising the Karnataka issue and accused the ruling party of "poaching" its MLAs in the state.

He was, however, disallowed by Speaker Om Birla saying, the matter was discussed in the House on Monday and Deputy Leader of Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh had responded to the charges.

"It is your duty to save democracy," a Congress member said.

Unsatisfied with the Speaker's response, Chowdhury again tried to raise the issue.

He scribbled a few slogans on a piece of paper and gave it to his fellow MPs sitting behind him, who promptly raised them.

The members raised slogans like "Down with dictatorship" (Tanashahi Band Karo), "Stop the politics of poaching" (Shikar ki rajneeti Band Karo Band karo).

As members raised slogans, Gandhi also joined them but his pitch was not as high as others. He merely repeated the last words of the slogans.

As members entered the Well, they continued with the sloganeering.

The Speaker also warned members against bringing posters.

"This is our right," said one of the members. To which the Speaker said, "No it is not your right".

"The country is watching you. This is your House. Don't make it the house of a civic body," Birla said.

The Congress has been raising issues pertaining to Karnataka in the Lok Sabha and accused the ruling BJP of "indulging in politics of poaching".

The year-old Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse after a spate of resignations by MLAs.

So far 14 MLAs have resigned in Karnataka, which includes 11 from the Congress and three from the JD(S). If accepted, the coalition government's strength in the assembly would be reduced to 102 minus the Speaker against the halfway mark of 113.

The BJP's strength as of now stands at 107.

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