Chaos ensued in the Karnataka Assembly on Wednesday as state Health Minister K Sudhakar dared opposition leaders to come clean on their "extra-marital affairs" rather than pointing fingers at others. "To those opposition leaders from the Congress and JD(S) who are projecting themselves as ‘Maryada Purushas’ and ‘Sri Ramachandras’, I want to throw a challenge. Let all 225 (MLAs) face an inquiry. Let it be proved who has had illicit relationships or not, including me," Sudhakar had said.
Speaking to reporters, he said, "Everybody's character will be known. Who did what when they were Chief Ministers. Let everything be inquired. Anyway, this is a question of morality and values, right? Let it involve everyone - Ministers, MLAs, opposition leaders."
Taking the names of Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar, former chief minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, Sudhakar said, "If their conscience is right, let them agree to this proposal and face inquiry."
"They all are Satya Harishchandras. KR Ramesh Kumar, V Muniyappa (Congress leaders), Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy. They're following monogamy, right? Let them agree to this (challenge). Let there be inquiry on all 225, people will know the truth. I'm ready for this, he added.
Sudhakar's statements were in response to the Karnataka Congress' ongoing protest inside the Assembly for the last three days demanding resignation of six Ministers who have secured an ex-parte injunction order from the court to bar media from publishing any defamatory content against them.
The injunction order was secured after former Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi was forced to resign from his position after he was accused of asking for sexual favours in return for a government job. Videos of Jarkiholi with a woman were shared widely on news channels and social media in the state.
Within hours of his controversial statement on 'extra-marital affairs' going viral, the Health Minister on Wednesday took to Twitter to express his regret over making such remarks.
In a series of tweets in Kannada, Sudhakar said that at first he regretted making any statement that was deemed as hurting sentiments. "I respect all my legislator friends and I do honour their integrity. I did not say anything with an intent to hurt my legislator friends," he said.
"I was deeply hurt by the Congress party's attitude towards us (six ministers). My intent of making such a statement was to tell them that they should also 'do some soul searching' before targeting anyone. However, this seems to have gone beyond one's understanding. I only request those who are translating or interpreting my statement in a literal sense, to do some soul searching before commenting on others," he said in a tweet.