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K'taka Assembly Adjourned Till 4 March Amid Congress Protest Against Eshwarappa

The Congress has been protesting over the minister's flag remarks & has been demanding his sacking.

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Amid slogans of “down, down BJP" and "suspend Eshwarappa," Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri adjourned the Assembly session till 4 March, as opposition leaders continued their ongoing protest against Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister KS Eshwarappa over his flag remarks.

Over the past week, the Congress in Karnataka has been protesting in the Assembly against the minister for his remark that the saffron flag may replace the national flag atop the Red Fort some day.

The Congress has been demanding that the minister be booked for sedition.

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The 10-day Assembly session, which began on 14 February, was slated to end on 25 February. However, after the proceedings began, Congress MLAs began protesting and raising slogans demanding the sacking of Eshwarappa.

On Tuesday, Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri made a futile attempt of pacifying the agitating members and requesting them to allow a question and answer the session. When his repeated requests went in vain, an upset Speaker accused the Congress MLAs of “already wasting” five days of the session.

Amid the chaos, Karnataka Legislature Salaries, Pensions and Allowances Amendment Bill 2022 — increasing the salaries of the Chief Minister and other ministers — was passed, and the hikes will result in a recurring, additional expenditure of approximately Rs 92.4 crore per annum.

The Bill on ministers’ salaries and allowances proposes to increase the salary of the Chief Minister from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 per month, the salary of ministers from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000, and sumptuary allowance for both will be increased from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4.50 lakh per annum.

It also proposes to increase the house rent allowance of Ministers from Rs 80,000 per month to Rs 1.20 lakh, while allowance for maintenance and upkeep of residence and layout and maintenance of gardens has been increased from Rs 20,000 per month to Rs 30,000. Also their petrol expenses to be paid by the government has been increased from one thousand to two thousand litres.

Congress Leaders Accuse BJP Led State Govt of Being RSS's 'Puppet'

On Monday, 21 February, Congress leaders descended to the well of the House and were heard raising slogans accusing the BJP-led state government of being a “puppet” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Speaker was angered by this, and slammed the protesting leaders.

“Why are you unnecessarily dragging the RSS into this? How is the RSS connected? Don’t drag RSS again and again,” the Speaker said. “RSS is a nationalist organisation working to unite Hindus. You should support their activities. Don’t bring RSS into this. If you have political differences, sort them out instead of linking it to the RSS,” he added.

Congress leaders in the state — led by Karnataka unit chief DK Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah — have been carrying out a ‘day-and-night’ protest against Eshwarappa since Thursday, 17 February. Sources told PTI that the legislators were sleeping inside the Assembly and performing activities like yoga under the rising sun and going for walks and jogging around the Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru.

(Published in arrangement with The News Minute)

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