The 10-day winter session of the Karnataka legislature began here on a stormy note on Monday, with the opposition BJP demanding resignation of Urban Development Minister KJ George against whom the CBI has filed an FIR for allegedly abetting the suicide of a police officer.
Ruckus prevailed in the Legislative Council after opposition leader and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker KS Eshwarappa sought to move an adjournment motion against the continuation of George in the ministry and the ruling Congress vehemently opposed it.
Council Chairman DH Shankaramurthy adjourned the House till 3 pm as noisy scenes continued after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah rejected the BJP demand for the resignation of George or discussion on his role in the death of Mangaluru Deputy Superintendent of Police MK Ganapathy in July last year.
"Let the CBI probe the case and submit report, as the state CID (Crime Investigation Department) had already investigated and found that George had no role in Ganapathy's suicide as the then state Home Minister," asserted Siddaramaiah.
The FIR against George was filed on October 14 in Chennai on the September 5 order of the Supreme Court, which is hearing a special review petition filed by the father and son of Ganapathy against the minister and two senior police officers of the state.
Ganapathy (51), was found hanging on July 7, 2016 in a lodge at Madikeri in Kodagu district, about 250 km to the west of the state capital.
"As continuation of George in the cabinet has become untenable, he should resign or be sacked till the CBI investigation is completed and he is acquitted. He has no moral right to be minister till then," thundered Eshwarappa in Kannada.
George resigned once (July 18, 2016) after the Madikeri court ordered the local police station to register the case against him but was re-inducted into the cabinet (September 26, 2016) after the CID gave him a clean chit in the case.
When the session resumed post-lunch, the ruling party members urged the Chairman to expunge the derogatory word (murderer) Eshwarappa used for George while making submission for a special discussion on the case before the question hour.
"How can the opposition leader (Eshwarappa) call George a murderer when no court had held him guilty of the charge," retorted Siddaramaiah, rejecting the BJP demand.
George, who was present in the House, also said let the CBI investigate the case and submit the report.
The Chairman rejected the BJP demand for an adjournment motion as "there was no precedence for it in the history of the House".
In a related development, legislative Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad was forced to adjourn the lower House soon after it met at 11.00 am on the first day of the session for want of quorum, much to the embarrassment of the ruling party.
"It is unfortunate that I have to adjourn the House on the opening day as sufficient members are not present for quorum," lamented Koliwad.
The 225-member assembly should have at least one-tenth (23) of its strength for quorum, as per the legislative rules and procedures.
The proceedings resumed 20 minutes later after members of the ruling and opposition parties trooped into the House belatedly to meet the quorum criterion.
The winter session of the state legislature is held at Suvarna Soudha in Belagabi, about 500 km from the state capital (Bengaluru), since a decade to address the various issues of the people in the state's northern region.