Karnataka Congress walks out of budget session amid din over sex scandal

Siddaramaiah said the party would not listen to the budget by an "unethical" government and the members would protest by wearing black badges

Five guarantees-Siddaramaiah,
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been holding meetings with officials from various departments over the implementation of five guarantees. File photo

The opposition Congress on Monday (March 8) staged a walkout during the tabling of the budget for 2021-22 by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, claiming that the BJP government in the state had no moral right to continue in power.

“This government carrying a bundle of sins has no moral right to continue in power. So we have decided to protest against the presentation of the budget,” former chief minister Siddaramaiah told reporters here. He said the Congress party would not listen to the budget by an “unethical” government and the members would protest by wearing black badges.

Siddaramaiah said the chief minister, who holds the Finance portfolio and the Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani, were out on bail in a criminal case relating to creation of bogus documents to take back Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) land at Devanahalli in Bengaluru.

While speaking to media persons, Siddaramaiah said, “(Chief Minister) Yediyurappa and (minister Murugesh) Nirani were involved in a criminal case. The High Court passed a judgment on their petition to quash the FIR. The court rejected this. They appealed to Supreme Court which heard the matter and refused to grant stay on High Court judgment.”

Siddaramaiah, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the legislative Assembly, also said six other ministers approached the civil court seeking injunction against the telecast or publication of any defamatory material against them by the media following the sex-for-job allegation against the BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi who had to step down as minister.

“After the telecast of Ramesh Jarkiholi (objectionable video clip), these six ministers including Shivaram Hebbar, M B Patil, Dr Sudhakar are in fear. What’s their fear? Shouldn’t there be some basis behind the fear?” he said.

“They (the six ministers) are under the fear that CDs may be telecast. With this fear in mind, they approached the court and got a temporary injunction. In their petition they have mentioned there are another 19 CDs. That means to say this government has lost the right to rule this state,” he added.

According to him, there were many more ministers whose objectionable CDs were made.

The Congress stalwart charged that the injunction sought by the ministers was an attack on the freedom of press. “These ministers had taken oath saying that they would discharge their duties without any fear or favour. When they have gone to court out of fear what moral right do they, including the Chief Minister, have to continue in power,” Siddaramaiah sought to know. He alleged that the government was steeped in corruption as well.

On the injunction being obtained by six ministers, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan told NDTV: “The apprehension is there. Nobody can be prevented from complaining if anything wrong has been done… But creating and bringing pictures, videos in public domain before anyone knows if they are true or false. They wanted to ensure they did not become a victim. They felt this was a better way than becoming a victim of the situation or because of somebody’s high handedness.”

Dr Narayan said nobody has come forward in the Ramesh Jarkiholi issue. “Only some activist has come forward and he too withdrew his complaint yesterday… Even then, the BJP has taken a moral ground since it was in the public domain and ensured the concerned minister resigned without waiting.”