Karnataka Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad on Thursday reserved his ruling on a motion of breach of privilege moved by opposition BJP against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for making a “factually incorrect” statement in the House on the Anganwadi workers issue. BJP accused Siddaramaiah of misleading the House during the debate on the protest by Anganwadi workers in the city demanding a wage hike, which entered fourth day on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Siddaramaiah while stating that his government was sympathetic to Anganwadi workers’ needs and has been increasing their wages every year, had charged the BJP with not giving even a pie to them while in power. However, correcting himself Siddaramaiah subsequently had admitted that BJP government had increased anganwadi workers wages a couple of times.
Moving the motion, Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar said the Chief Minister has misled the House and the people by making inaccurate statements. Reading out Siddaramaiah’s statements, he said, “The Chief Minister repeatedly said BJP did not give even a single pie while in the government to anganwadi workers.” “Chief Minister’s position is a responsible position, one has to be patient while countering the opposition and it should be done with facts…He did not show any courtesy. We feel our privileges has been breached, please admit our privilege motion,” he told the Speaker.
C T Ravi (BJP) said Chief Minister was habitual in misrepresenting facts. Former Speaker K G Bopaiah (BJP) said the Chief Minister’s comments were not a sudden response to a provocation, as being represented by ruling party members, and said they clearly amounted to breach of privilege. Intervening, Health Minister Ramesh Kumar said Chief Minister made those statements in a rage and on realising the facts as he returned to normalcy he corrected his statement. “Chief Minister is also a human being…..he was willing to correct his incorrect statement, which he has done,” he said.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said Siddaramaiah’s statements were not “intentional” or “deliberate…it was incidental, so it won’t amount to privilege,” he added. After hearing the members, the Speaker reserved his orders on whether to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee or not.