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Karnataka sleaze row: Opposition slams BJP, wants MLAs suspended

CNN-IBN
Feb 08, 2012 at 02:50pm IST

Bangalore: The Karnataka Assembly was adjourned for half an hour on Wednesday amidst Opposition uproar over the sleaze row involving two BJP MLAs. The Opposition shouted 'Shame! Shame!' as soon as the Assembly proceedings began.

BJP party members CC Patil and Lakshmana Savadi were caught on camera on Tuesday watching an obscene video on their mobile phones while the Assembly was in session.

The Opposition demanded the dismissal of the three MLAs, including ex-Mangalore in-charge Minister Krishna Palemar, whose phone reportedly had the video, from the Assmebly.

Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda, however, defended the trio saying that there won't be any action against them without probe.

"Only the Speaker will decide on action against the three," he said.

The three - CC Patil, Lakshmana Savadi and Krishna Palemar - "voluntarily" resigned on Wednesday morning during a BJP core committee meeting after the shocking sleaze row made headlines on most TV channels.

The trio said that they were tendering in their resignation to save the party's image.

CC Patil has earlier been roiled in a similar controversy. In January this year, he assumed the high moral ground on womenswear, saying, "I personally don't favour women wearing provocative clothes and always feel they need to be dignified in whatever they wear." He also said that women should know how much skin they should cover.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj has accepted the trio's resignations.

Gowda, after receiving his ministers' resignations, still seemed to be in a benevolent mood. He said, "Three of my ministers, Lakshman Savadi, CC Patil and Krishna Palemar have voluntarily handed in their resignations in spite of the fact that they are innocent in the matter... I have accepted their resignations."

BJP leader Dhananjay Kumar, meanwhile, staked claims for people's appreciation saying that the BJP must be praised for its "swift act" as it had "asked" its party members to resign.

He added, "The BJP has taken this seriously. We uphold morality in public life. What has happened is unfortunate."

A regional TV channel aired the footage of the two - CC Patil and Lakshman Savadi - watching the clippings when the Assembly was debating the issue of hoisting of Pakistan national flag in a town in Bijapur district on the New Year's day.

The footage showed Savadi watching the video and later joined by Patil for a brief while.

Savadi had earlier tried to explain away the controversy saying the video was a "value addition" for a discussion on the rave parties that happened during a tourism festival in coastal Karnataka.

"I have done nothing wrong and I will not resign. I was watching a foreign rave party scene sent by one of my colleague minister Krishna. I did it to understand what rave party means," Savadi had said.

The two ministers were at the receiving end of the Kannada activists' ire, who went on the rampage, shouting slogans in front of their houses late on Tuesday night.

"We won't tolerate it, if such people soil the image of the temple of Karnataka. The sacred place that's Vidhan Souda," Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activist Lokesh Gowda said.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain had earlier said that the party would take action against those found guilty.

"I would say that a politician should lead an honourable life because people repose their faith in them. If the minister is found guilty then we will take action against them. We will give a statement once we get the details."

Congress reacts:

The Congress, that will look to cash in on the incident, came out strongly on Wednesday, slamming the BJP for the "shameless" conduct of its party leaders.

"It is shameless on the part of those ministers," said Congress leader and Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily.

"This has been going on in the BJP party. Many BJP ministers have been involved in such crimes. They should be straight away sacked from the party. Even in Udupi, a rave party has been taking place for three days. The whole BJP party in Karnataka standing on an immoral ground," he added.

Kapil Sibal, meanwhile, poked fun at the BJP saying, "Some of these BJP people have all kinds of entertainment."

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwara lashed out at the BJP and the RSS saying that the Assembly must be dissolved and a fresh mandate sought from the people. He added that the sleaze incident was a first in the history of Karnataka Assembly.

"Series of these kinds of activities compel us to ask for a dissolution of the Assembly and go before the people. Three ministers were involved in watching a porn film inside the Assembly hall. It reflects the BJP's attitude towards the public life. Never in the history of Karnataka's Assembly has this kind of an incident happened.

"The Assembly must be dissolved and fresh mandate sought from the people," he said.

"It is a shame for the entire fraternity... and these three ministers are responsible for that. Is this what they teach in the RSS camps?" he asked.

"When these clips aired on television, within seconds the RSS should have demanded their resignations," he added.

Karnataka’s 'sleazy' past:

- Ex-Chief Minister BS Yedyurappa allegedly had relations with a Cabinet minister

- Excise Minister Renukacharya was caught kissing a nurse. The nurse claimed Renukacharya had raped and threatened her.

- Ex-BJP MLA Halappa was allegedly caught on camera raping a close aide's wife.

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