Karnataka : Chaos in house over Zameer’s ‘Muslim Speaker’ remark

Belagavi : The Assembly on Monday witnessed chaotic scenes with the Opposition members seeking the expulsion of Minority Welfare and Waqf Minister B Z Zameer Ahemd Khan from the Cabinet over his controversial remarks during the recent election campaign in Telangana.

Zameer had recently claimed that BJP legislators in Karnataka were now forced to bow before a Muslim Speaker.

“UT Khader has been made Speaker. Now, all senior BJP leaders in the house have to say Namaskar sir (bowing before the speaker). All this was possible because of the Congress,” Zameer had said, drawing sharp criticism from BJP and JDS.

The Opposition members alleged that Zameer had insulted the Constitutional post by communalising it. However, not budging from the tactics of the Opposition for disruption, Speaker U T Khader ran the house amid the chaos.

The beginning of the Question Hour saw Opposition members trying to grab the attention of the Speaker over Zameer’s remarks. Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka said it was unbecoming for the minister to communalise the Speaker’s post. As Zameer is unfit to continue as a minister, he should be expelled from the cabinet immediately, Ashoka demanded. Though Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil tried to make a clarification, the protesting members did not allow anybody from the treasury bench to speak. So the Speaker adjourned the House for a while.

During the break, the Speaker held a meeting with the Ruling and Opposition members to reach a compromise, but BJP members did not budge.

When the House reconvened after 30 minutes, the Opposition members continued to protest in the well of the House.

Speaker Khader urged them to cooperate to run the House smoothly and take part in an important discussion on the reeling drought situation in the state and issues troubling North Karnataka. He also questioned their priorities and said precious time of the House should not be misused.

As the protesting members did not pay heed to the Speaker’s request, the latter continued with the Question Hour amid the pandemonium, which further infuriated the former and started sloganeering against the minister and government. Ridiculing the remarks of Zameer, Vijayapura City BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal charged that the Congress was busy in appeasing Muslims.

Ashoka charged that the Congress leader had asked JDS to remove the word ‘secular’ from its name. Then the Congress should add an ‘M’ to its name, he said. To keep the Muslims happy, the Congress is negating the disregard shown by its minister towards the Constitutional post, he charged.

As neither the government nor the Speaker budge to the Opposition, the proceedings continued without disruption though the latter remained in the well throughout the day.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah came in support of minister Zameer and said neither he (Zameer) has shown disregard to the Speaker’s chair nor made any unparliamentary remark against BJP members. Denouncing disruption of the House by the Opposition, the CM said if they wanted to discuss the issue let them give a separate notice as the government was ready to reply. He requested the Opposition to withdraw the protest and cooperate for the smooth running of the House.