The Mandya MLA has the lowest attendance record in K’taka Assembly, having gone only four times in four years.

Absent Ambareesh Ktaka MLA dances at music event but barely goes to Assembly
news Politics Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 17:38

Mandya Congress MLA Malavalli Huchche Gowda Amarnath, popularly known as Ambareesh has attended assembly sessions only four times since 2013.

The perpetual absentee leads in the list of absent legislators at the Karnataka Assembly. According to data obtained from the Karnataka Legislature Secretariat, Ambareesh has attended only four days out of the total 220 days in 15 assembly sessions.

A video of Ambareesh dancing at the music launch of a Kannada film went viral on social media on Wednesday. This raised questions about the actor-turned politician being perpetually absent from the Assembly.

Reacting to the allegations, Congress Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “Even as Union Minister he did not attend minister's office because of his own reasons.”

In April this year, JD(U) Mandya unit president BS Gowda had lodged a complaint with Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad, asking him to disqualify Ambareesh as the MLA was notorious for being absent in the sessions.

“Speaker Koliwad had sought an explanation from him, to which he had replied in May, saying that he could not attend the assembly session as he cannot sit in an air-conditioned room. Ambareesh had also said that he would attend from the next session, which is the current one in Belagavi,” a source in the Legislative Secretariat told TNM.

A legislator can be disqualified by the Speaker if he/she does not attend the sessions for 60 consecutive days without permission.

“The Speaker will send three notices to the absent legislator. If the reasons for absenteeism is not acceptable, then the legislator can be disqualified,” the source said.

According to a Congress source, Ambareesh has not attended a single session since he was dropped from CM Siddaramaiah’s cabinet in the 2016 reshuffle.

“He and Siddaramaiah are not on good terms. When he was removed from his post as Housing Minister, he had sent a letter of resignation (as an MLA) to Speaker Koliwad. The Speaker did not accept this because Ambareesh had not submitted the letter in person, as the rules require him to,” the source added.

When he was dropped from the Karnataka Cabinet, Ambareesh had said, “I am not anybody's 'chappal' that can be worn and thrown away when you want. I have my own popularity. I am not leaving because of politics. I lead my life because of the people's sweat. I know how to handle this.”

TNM tried contacting Ambareesh multiple times but got no response.

MLAs with attendance shortage

In the past four-and-half-years of the Congress government, the Karnataka Assembly has convened 15 times. A few legislators have attended less than half of the total number of days the session was on.

Ambareesh isn’t the only with a poor attendance record.  Labour Minister Santosh Lad has attended the assembly session only five times.

The other frequent absentees are Congress MLAs Ganesh Prasad Hukkeri and Varthur Prakash, who have attended the Assembly 63 and 104 times respectively. MES MLA Shambhaji Patil has attended 62 times, BJP MLAs S Raghu and Anand Singh have attended 84 and 82 times respectively, while JD(S) MLA Iqbal Ansari has attended Assembly sessions 71 times.

When the empty chairs greeted consecutive assembly sessions in 2016, Speaker KB Koliwad had said that it was mandatory for legislators to sign in not only for the morning session but also for the afternoon one. The session timings are from 11 am to 6 pm with a lunch break for one hour.

Some legislators who have attended most of the sessions include Congress MLAs Rafiq Ahmed (211), BM Nagaraju (211) and Shivaram Hebbar (211) and BJP MLA KG Bopaiah (210).


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