Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], July 18 (ANI): Members of the ruling coalition in Karnataka on Thursday raised questions in the state Assembly over Congress MLA Shrimant Patil's admission to a hospital in Mumbai ahead of the crucial trust vote on thursday.
During a heated debate on the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar told the Assembly that he got a letter without any date or on a letter pad that Patil was in St George hospital because of chest pain"Under rule 203, the Speaker has to read out the letter and ask your permission. How can I accept this letter, which was not on an official letter pad? Why did he go to Mumbai? With whom did he go? Should I base myself on the rules or on the current political climate? This letter did not even have a date. How can I consider this? he said.
Kumar refused to go into Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao's allegations that Patil was travelling with BJP leader Lakshman Savadi. "I cannot look at who travelled with whom," he said.
The Speaker sought a report from Home Minister M B Patilasking him to contact Patil's family to know whether his chest pain occurred suddenly before the trust vote or not.
"Please contact the family members of Shrimant Patil (Congress MLA) immediately. Give a detailed report to me by tomorrow. Ask them if they know anything about this. Has he had a medical problem in the past or is it the first time. it does not look natural. If Home Minister can't ensure protection, I will talk to DGP," he said adding was there no hospital in Bengaluru for treatment.
Rao claimed that Patil had dinner with Congress MLAs on the eve of the floor test.
"We were all with Shrimanth Patil last night and he had dinner with us. Later, I was informed that he's missing from the resort. We couldn't find him despite a search. He was healthy but look at what the BJP has done," he said.
The Congress leader asked the Speaker to order a police investigation claiming that Patil is healthy.
"He was healthy on Wednesday. He went to Chennai last night and with Savadi (of BJP) he travelled to Mumbai in a special flight. Why is the Maharashtra government giving him protection? It shows that the BJP is completely involved in this," Rao said.
"We are writing you a letter from the Congress that you should order a police investigation. You must look at the conspiracy of the BJP to make him violate the whip. You must bring the MLA back and he is healthy," he said.
JD(S) leader Shivalinge Gowda said if MLAs are not protected then it will be a murder of democracy.
"MLAs are scared. Is this cattle trade? Why are you doing this just for a seat (tells BJP). We appeal to you to protect us. This will be a murder of democracy," he said.
Kumaraswamy also reiterated that the Speaker has the responsibility to protect the MLAs.
"The discussion was over Schedule 10. I will not threaten anybody. I am in no hurry. Let us discuss what happened between 2008 and 2013. We haven't treated MLAs like cattle," he said.
"In the case of Shrimanth Patil, you must explain who sent his photos on WhatsApp? Who travelled with him in the flight? The speaker has the responsibility to protect the MLAs. Numbers only matter during the vote," the Chief Minister said.
Countering ruling coalition's allegations, BJP leader C T Ravi asked Kumaraswamy-led government to introspect rather than accusing his party.
"I can understand why they feel so bad about losing power. They have accused the BJP but in whose custody was he? You are the chief minister and you have the government. They should introspect rather than accuse us," Ravi said.
"The coalition is prolonging this because they don't have the numbers. Let them just prove the numbers," he added.
Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar displayed photos of Patil on a stretcher. He also sought to know the whereabouts eight MLAs who travelled together.
"There were 8 MLAs who travelled together. Here is a picture of one of them (Shrimant Patil) lying inert on a stretcher, where are these people? I'm asking the Speaker to protect our MLAs," Shivakumar said18 MLAs were not present in the Assembly as the House took up the vote of confidence for debate. They included Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna, S T Somashekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Roshan Baig, Srimanth Patil, Anand Singh, B Nagendra, R Shankar, K Gopalaiah, Narayana Gowda, M T B Basavaraj, BC Patil, H Vishwanath, Mahesh Kumthahalli, Prathap Gouda Patil, Dr Sudhakar and Shivaram Hebbar. (ANI)