Karnataka MLA’s were greeted with Assembly marshal’s requesting them to deposit their mobile phones before entering the assembly. A move came as a surprise to many of them. The newly refurbished assembly has the pigeon-boxes for depositing mobile phones by the MLA’s . Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa , according to sources in the Vidhan Soudha wanted the implementation of the recommendations made by the legislators committee two years ago.
The background for this being the the infamous ‘porn’ watching incident involving three MLA’s on Feb 7,2012 inside the Karnataka assembly had rocked the then BJP government . The infamous incident saw the stepping down of two ministers Lakshman Savdi and C C Patil after the opposition raised heckles on morality of the then ministers watching pornographic material.
To quell the anger in the public over the ministers’ watching pornographic material in the assembly and the media pressure , the then speaker K G Bopaiah had constituted a committee of legislators to enquire into the incident and also make recommendations to prevent any repeat of the incident in the Karnataka assembly. While the recommendations made by the committee of legislators had at that time given series of recommendations , no action was taken on the same. In the last session of the Karnataka assembly in Belgaum , much to the embarrassment of the BJP , its MLA Prabhu Chavan from Aurad was caught on TV cameras zooming into a Priyanka Gandhi photo. While on the same day another BJP MLA UB Banakar was caught playing Candy crush saga when the house was discussing farmers’ related issues.
The implementation of the recommendation , which comes three years after the incident amused some of the MLA’s and ministers , while some did not take the move very kindly. An MLA commented , ” The process is tedious , just because some incidents have happened in the past doesn’t mean that it will happen again. To castigate aspersions on every one for a fault of few individuals is not right”
Also interestingly, while the MLA’s have to surrender the phones at the gate , the irony is the official Tablets given to them as a part of MLA’s kit can be taken inside without any restrictions. Its just that there may be no need to zoom into pictures/ videos