Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla addressed a joint session of the Karnataka legislature even as the Congress chose to boycott the session in protest. The Congress leaders alleged that this was a breach of protocol and only the Governor or the President should address a joint session. CM Basavaraj Bommai dismissed the allegations by calling it routine.
The theme of the Lok Sabha Speakerâ€™s address was 'Democracy - Safeguarding democratic values'. Birla handed over the best legislator award to former Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa in the Assembly. The Congress party alleged that the address was against the principle and spirit of the constitution and the ruling BJP is violating the highest tradition in the state by organising the address of Om Birla to both members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
"The Speaker's address to the joint session is unwarranted. In the history of the Karnataka legislature, no such precedent is there. Only the President of India and the Governor of the state can come and address. We condemn it. We wanted it to be organised in the Banquet Hall, now the ruling BJP wants to hold it in the Assembly session which is against the constitution and against the rules of democracy," Congress state president DK Shivakumar said.
CM Bommai, in response, said that this was not the first time a Lok Sabha Speaker was addressing a state Assembly and added that it has happened in Congress-ruled states too in the past. He accused the Congress of hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, the Congress continued its protest against the fuel and daily commodities' price hike by staging a 'tonga' protest. The protest rally started from the Congress party office and the Congress legislators reached the Vidhana Soudha on tongas. The protest was organised to draw the attention of the state as well as the Central government on the fuel price hike.
The Congress in Karnataka had organised a bullock cart protest rally on the first day of the Assembly session followed by the bicycle protest rally to highlight the plight of the common man in the backdrop of the price hike of fuel and daily commodities.
(With IANS inputs)