Bengaluru, Feb 18 (PTI) Congress legislators spent the whole night inside the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Council, escalating demand for the dismissal of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa over his statement regarding the national flag.
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They also demanded that he be booked for sedition regarding his statement about the national flag.
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Eshwarappa had on February 9 said that ‘Bhagwa dhwaj’ (saffron flag), may become the national flag some time in the future.
The senior party leader, however, had said, the tricolour is the national flag now, and it should be respected by everyone.
“Hundreds of years ago the chariots of Sri Ramachandra and Maruthi had saffron flags on them. Was the tricolour flag there in our country then? Now it (tricolour) is fixed as our national flag, what respect it has to be given, should be given by every person who eats food in this country, there is no question about it,” Eshwarappa had said.
Responding to a question from reporters as to whether the saffron flag can be hoisted on the red fort, he had said, “not today, some day in the future. Discussions are today taking place in the country on ‘Hindu vichara’ and ‘Hindutva’. People used to laugh at one point when we said Ram Mandir will be constructed in Ayodhya, aren’t we constructing it now? In the same way some time in the future, after 100 or 200 or 500 years Bhagwa dhwaj may become the national flag. I don’t know.”
Further stating that now tricolour has been constitutionally accepted as the national flag, the Minister, a former BJP state unit chief, said, it should be respected.
“…we are the people who hoist the saffron flag, not today some time in the future Hindu dharma will come to this country at that time we will hoist it on the Red fort, for now the tricolour is our national flag, there is no doubt about it and we all respect it,” Eshwarappa had added.
The ‘overnight agitation’ by the Congress came even as protests by the party legislators rocked proceedings in both houses for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
Addressing reporters on Thusday outside the assembly, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, accusing BJP and Sangh Parivar of disrespecting the national flag, said the Congress has decided to stage ‘day-and-night’ protests, to take the issue to a “logical end”.
Noting that the Governor, who is the constitutional head, should have intervened and given instructions for Eshwarappa’s dismissal, as his “comments amount to treason”, he said, “The Chief Minister is also not taking action against Eshwarappa, the RSS is implementing its hidden agenda through Eshwarappa.”
Renewing the attack on Friday, Congress state president D K Shivakumar told reporters that there was no question of giving up the agitation till Eshwarappa is dismissed.
“Our agitation will continue. We do not want the resignation of the ‘foul-mouthed’ Eshwarappa. We want that the Governor and the Chief Minister to dismiss him,” Shivakumar told reporters.
Reacting to the demand, Eshwarappa said: “Let them stay inside the assembly and legislative council forever.”
“Let Shivakumar see what I had said. I had never ever insulted the national tricolour,” Eshwarappa said.
Eshwarappa said there is no question of him resigning for any reason, and he is a patriot who had gone to jail during the emergency.
“Let them protest, I won’t budge,” he said, and demanded that state Congress chief Shivakumar resign, accusing him and his party of ‘misusing’ the national flag for protests.
Terming the stand taken by Congress leaders as anti-people, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, earlier too overnight protests have taken place in the assembly, but they were on issues concerning people, farmers and interests of the state, but this is a protest by misinterpreting a statement.
“There is nothing wrong in Eshwarappa’s statement, there is nothing in his statement that is against law. As they (Congress) don’t have any other issues they are doing this. For the first time without any reason over night protest is being held, this is not the sign of a responsible opposition. They feel they will get political mileage out of it, but they are wrong,” he said.
At the time when people and the government are working towards sorting out issues and creating a conducive atmosphere for students in schools and colleges, and maintain peace, instead of working together and sending out a message of unity, Congress is trying to play politics, Bommai added.
Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa tried in vain to end the logjam on Thursday night after meeting Siddaramaiah in the Assembly premises.
The Speaker had rejected the Congress’ adjournment motion demanding the dismissal of and sedition case against Eshwarappa.
The Speaker also had held meetings of floor leaders to end the stalemate, but they were unsuccessful.
It was in 2019 last time when the legislators had stayed put in the assembly overnight. At the time, it was the BJP MLAs then who were protesting against the delay in then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy taking a trust vote on the floor of the House.
In 2010, Congress legislators had staged a similar protest against the then BJP government on the illegal mining issue.
It was in 1996, when the first such overnight protest is said to have taken place in the assembly. It was by BJP then against the J H Patel government over power tariff hike.
Earlier, as soon as the Assembly met for the day on Thursday, Congress members trooped into the well of the House to mark their protest.
After the House paid tributes to former MLA Mallur Ananda Rao, who died on February 14, Speaker Kageri took up the Question Hour, and Congress members began shouting slogans demanding action against Eshwarappa, calling him “Desha Drohi” (traitor).
The Question Hour took place amid sloganeering from Congress members, who did not participate in it, despite repeated requests from the chair. Slogans like – “We want justice”, “We want resignation”, “Down, down to corrupt government”, “Eshwarappa – desha drohi”, “This Government is RSS’ puppet”, “BJP government is anti national flag” – among others marred the proceedings.
After Question Hour, the Speaker asked Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah to speak on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address, but he did not speak and continued to protest from the well along with Congress legislators.
As the chaos continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 pm.
As Congress members continued their protest from the well of the assembly, shouting slogans demanding Eshwarappa’s resignation, when it met post lunch, Speaker Kageri adjourned the House for Friday.
In the Legislative Council too, proceedings were marred by Congress’ protest with placards from the well, demanding action against Eshwarappa.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)