Sudhakar resigns, heckled in Soudha

Police intervene after BJP leaders protest the detention of MLA K Sudhakar in Vidhana Soudha. DH photo/Krishnakumar P S

Karnataka politics hit a new low Wednesday when a legislator was heckled and virtually locked up after which a pitched battle ensued between arch-rivals BJP and the Congress inside Vidhana Soudha, forcing the police to storm the corridors of power. 

The trigger for this was the resignation of two Congress legislators — Housing Minister M  T B Nagaraju (Hoskote) and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) chairperson K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur). With this, the number of rebel MLAs rose to 18, deepening the crisis for the embattled Congress-JD(S) coalition. 

After Sudhakar emerged out of Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar’s chamber, Congress workers pulled him by his collar, abusing him.

This happened right in front of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao. Despite police presence, Sudhakar was dragged into Industries Minister K J George’s chamber where he was confined for nearly half an hour so that Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah could talk him out of the resignation.

The BJP entered the scene protesting the way Sudhakar was treated, leading to a skirmish with Congress leaders. The drama saw Bengaluru city police commissioner Alok Kumar rushing to Vidhana Soudha with additional forces. The police brought Sudhakar out of confinement following Governor Vajubhai R Vala’s intervention and he was taken to Raj Bhavan. 

Condemning the manhandling of the rebel MLA, the BJP demanded immediate sacking of the ruling coalition. 

Siddaramaiah, however, played it down: “He was not taken forcibly by anybody and there was no coercion. He’s our friend and well-wisher. He’s our MLA.”

With 16 MLAs having tendered resignations and two Independent MLAs supporting the BJP, the ruling coalition’s tally is down to 101 against the BJP’s 107. 

Earlier in the day, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa led a delegation to Raj Bhavan seeking the Governor’s intervention on the grounds that the government was in a minority. The saffron party also complained against the Speaker, accusing him of allowing a minority government to function.

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