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Congress MLAs wear helmets to work in K’taka

Kashif Masoodi


Bangalore: In a potshot at the ruling BJP government, opposition MLAs from the Congress arrived at work this morning wearing helmets.

Opposition MLAs trooped into work on Monday wearing helmets.  No inference required, they chorused throughout the day that the Karnataka Assembly is a hazardous zone, enter at your own risk.  One of them, Bandeppa Khasempur said, “At our own cost, we have got helmets – in future. You should provide bullet-proof jackets also because that type of situation is coming in Vidhan Soudha.”

Not funny, says the ruling BJP. “There are different and more mature ways of protesting. Unfortunately, this type of protest is turning out to be a poor gimmick. Public representatives should behave as leaders – not as jokers,” said the state’s Law Minister, Suresh Kumar.

The context for the Opposition’s show-and-tell protest: Friday’s Assembly session, where MLAs came dangerously close to violence as the BJP government took on the Opposition over the controversial resignation of the state’s ‘Lokayukta’ or ombudsman, N Santosh Hegde.

Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge had resigned from as Lokayukta on June 23. Before that, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and BJP chief Nitin Gadkari  had both met Hegde personally to request him to withdraw his resignation.

He did that nearly 10 days after resigning, attributing his change of heart to a phone call from BJP leader LK Advani. While announcing his resignation, Hegde said he was upset with the government’s lack of support in preventing corruption in public administration. He had also highlighted the government’s attempts to sabotage the work of officials who were trying to expose illegal mining in the state.

The BJP government in Karnataka has repeatedly been embarrassed by allegations of corruption leveled at the Reddy brothers, mining barons who are also ministers. Both Janardhana and Karunakara Reddy have been accused of misusing their public office to protect and promote the interests of their mining empire. On Friday, Opposition MLAs demanded a CBI inquiry against illegal mining in the state.

The BJP government in Karnataka has repeatedly been embarrassed by allegations of corruption leveled at the Reddy brothers, mining barons who are also ministers.  Both Janardhana and Karunakara Reddy have been accused of misusing their public office to protect and promote the interests of their mining empire. On Friday, Opposition MLAs demanded a CBI inquiry against illegal mining in the state.

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