The Karnataka Assembly proceedings on Tuesday saw the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress sparring over the ‘tukde-tukde gang’ and ‘Bharat Mata’.
Bengaluru: Less than a month after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it has no information on the “tukde-tukde gang”, the term made its way into the Karnataka Assembly. On the second day of the ongoing session on Tuesday, state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he has information on such a gang. The term has been used a number of times by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to attack opponents.
However, responding to an RTI query filed last year, the MHA recently said it has “no information” concerning the ‘tukde-tukde Gang’.
The ruckus in the Assembly began during Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah’s preliminary submission on the “crumbling law and order situation in the state” in which he cited the protests in Mangaluru where two people were allegedly shot dead last December as well as cases including that of a Bidar school where sedition charges were filed. Siddaramaiah alleged that freedom of expression is being curtailed, with the state government slapping sedition cases on anyone criticising it.
Responding to this, Bommai questioned Siddaramaiah about the 1975 Emergency, asking if the Congress had suddenly become aware of the fundamental rights of the citizens and whether they regretted the imposition of emergency back then.
While Siddaramaiah refused to discuss the Emergency, minister KS Eshwarappa intervened and questioned the Congress, asking the party could talk about the Constitution.
“You did not allow dissent. You arrested the likes of (LK) Advani. What anti-national act were they involved in? You talk about the Constitution?” he asked.
Siddaramaiah countered by saying that he, too, was arrested during the Emergency.
Eshwarappa responded by saying that he was sent to jail for fighting for freedom of expression, shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, alleging the Congress had jailed those who chanted the slogan.
“Bharat Mata ki jai is not your asset. It’s not the BJP’s contract. We are all Bharat mata’s children,” added Siddaramaiah. To this, CT Ravi in the background remarked, “except those in the tukde-tukde gang”.
The session took a chaotic turn from here on, with the Congress and the BJP shouting at each other.
While Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy asked who the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang was, her colleague Priyank Kharge asked for full details on it.
“The home ministry in a written reply has said they don’t have details of the ‘tukde tukde’ gang, Amit Shah does not know who the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang is or who its leader is,” said Kharge.
Pointing to a bunch of papers in his hand, Bommai said, “The information is here. You are associated with the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang, you are its leader.”
Following such a charge, Kharge asked Bommai to arrest him.
Bommai then alleged that the Congress had supported Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru and Left activist Kanhaiya Kumar who allegedly shouted anti-national slogans.
The heated exchanges continued, with Kharge asking the BJP “which Prime Minister went to Pakistan to eat biryani”.
The “tukde-tukde gang” ruckus continued for seven minutes when Yediyurappa asked his colleagues to keep quiet and allow Siddaramaiah to continue his speech.
But once Siddaramaiah concluded, the Speaker did not allow his submission for an adjournment motion, instead permitting for a discussion on Wednesday.
Siddaramaiah, who wanted that the issue be discussed immediately, walked out of the Assembly in protest with other Congress MLAs. The session then continued, with a discussion on the Governor’s speech and a vote of thanks. The Congress rejoined after a lunch break.
The current session of the Assembly began on Monday and will end on Thursday. This will be followed by a month-long session from March 2, when Yediyurappa will present the state budget.