Bangalore: Opposition JDS MLAs wore yellow colour mining helmets in the Karnataka Assembly for "protection" from some ruling BJP members, as the House witnessed high drama for the second day Monday.
The action of the JDS members stemming from a row over illegal mining in the state invited a strong rebuke from Speaker K G Bopaiah, who asked them to remove the helmets saying "We are holding the session in the Legislative Assembly; not on the street".
The members justified their action saying they needed to protect themselves in the wake of allegations of threat of attack by some ruling BJP MLAs, who tried to rush towards the Opposition last Friday. Congress had called the BJP members' tactics as criminal intimidation.
As the House met Monday, a united Congress and JDS continued to stage a dharna in the well of the Assembly, demanding that the five BJP MLAs be suspended for remaining days of the session and the Speaker lodge a police complaint against them.
The five from the mineral-rich Bellary district are: Tourism and Infrastructure Development Minister G Janardhana Reddy, Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy, G Somashekara Reddy, all brothers, T H Suresh Babu and B Nagendra.
Unruly scenes were witnessed on Friday after the Chair adjourned the House as Congress and JDS staged dharna in the well following a heated debate on illegal mining, sticking to its position that Janardhana Reddy be allowed to speak after Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah sought clarifications from Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on the issue.
Following the din, Bopaiah adjourned the House to meet on Monday. Minutes later the five were seen engaged in heated exchange of words with some Congress members, particularly Dinesh Gundu Rao and N L Narendra Babu.
Suresh Babu was seen trying to rush towards the Opposition members who were in the well staging a dharna. Siddaramaiah termed the behaviour of the five ruling party MLAs as one amounting to criminal intimidation, a cognisable and non-bailable offence and demanded lodging of a police complaint against them by the Speaker and their suspension for the remainder of the session.
He reiterated the demand Monday, as the House was ajourned twice, with the Opposition continuing its dharna. After Siddaramaiah's remarks, the Speaker allowed Janardhana Reddy to speak but during the course of his "explantion", the Deputy Floor Leader of Congress, T B Jayachandra, objected to the Tourism Minister being given an opportunity.
As pandemonium again broke out with ruling and Opposition members trying to make themselves heard, the House was adjourned again. A meeting convened by the Speaker with Opposition leaders during the morning session to break the deadlock was not fruitful.
Earlier, Bopaiah refused to allow JDS members speak, saying they first need to remove the helments. He also ticked off the members.