K'taka crisis: Cong protests inside, outside Parliament

Congress MPs, led by CPP leader Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi, stage a protest outside at Parliament House on Thursday, against the 'attempts' by the BJP to unsettle coalition government in Karnataka. AFP

Congress on Thursday protested against the BJP’s “attempts” to destabilise Karnataka government and weaning aways its MLAs in Goa, inside and outside Parliament, accusing the saffron party of “assaulting” democracy.

Congress MPs, including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and outgoing party chief Rahul Gandhi, along with other Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress and the RJD also staged a protest near Gandhi Statue in Parliament House.

In both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Congress MPs walked out in protest against the political developments in Karnataka and Goa.

As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, requested Speaker Om Birla during Zero Hour to allow him to speak on the political situation in Karnataka and Goa.

Birla, however, did not allow Chowdhury to raise the issue of political situation in Karnataka and Goa. He instead asked Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal, to propose a change in the list of business for Thursday.

Chowdhury was still seen making attempts to speak, but he could not be heard as his microphone was not turned on. He was later seen leading the Congress MPs to stage a walkout from the House. Sonia Gandhi, Congress Parliamentary Party chief, and the outgoing president of the party, Rahul Gandhi, were among those who walked out of the House.

Even as the Congress MPs staged a walkout, the Speaker briefly allowed BJP’s Shobha Karandlaje to speak on Karnataka developments. She said that the BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly elections in May 2018, but the Congress and the JD(S) entered into a coalition to form the government. But the coalition has now ceased to enjoy the support of the majority in the State Assembly, she said.

In Rajya Sabha too, Congress walked out in protest. As soon as the House assembled, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowed Congress Deputy Leader Anand Sharma to speak. He said the BJP was “assaulting” democracy by indulging in destabilising the Karnataka government.

“Our leaders are arrested. The issue is that they are trying to topple the government in Karnataka. In Goa, they are in power and what is the need to do this (weaning 10 out of 15 MLAs),” Sharma said, as Congress MPs walked out.

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar countered saying the Congress should look at themselves. “You do not have a president. You should not hold BJP responsible for that,” he said.

As Congress MPs walked out, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu proceeded with Budget discussions. Zero Hour was not taken up as decided by floor leaders.

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