Council Chairman gets hospitalised after Congress moves no-confidence motion against him

Council Chairman gets hospitalised after Congress moves no confidence motion against him

  • BJP leader and Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankarmuthy was hospitalised on the day a no-confidence motion was moved against him
  • Shankarmurthy was hospitalised after he bit his tongue while eating; the leader is said to be a diabetic. He was later discharged in the night
  • Hectic lobbying has been on between leaders of all three parties for the Chairman post
  • Congress, which has moved the no confidence motion against Shankarmuthy is hoping for JD(S) support, to occupy the post
  • JD(S) has demanded that its MLC Basavaraj Horatti be made chairman
  • Shankarmuthy has expressed confidence that the JD(S) will extend support to the BJP
  • Voting is said to take place by the end of the week

Hours after the Congress moved a no-confidence motion against him, Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy was found hospitalised at a private hospital in Bengaluru. Shankarmurthy was admitted to Vikram Hospital at around 7pm, after he complained of a bleeding tongue. He was however discharged by around 10 pm, after the doctors gave him a clean chit.

According to BJP MLC Ganesh Karnik, Shankarmurthy bit his tongue while he was eating his evening snack (upma). “After the Council was adjourned for the day, we were sitting in the Chairman’s cabin. We had ordered some uppittu. The Chairman bit his tongue while eating, which led to some bleeding. However, when the bleeding didn’t stop, we rushed him to the hospital. The doctors have said that the bleeding has now stopped, and that there is no need for worry,” said Karnik. 

Shankarmurthy was first tended to by the Vidhana Soudha medical team, before being taken to the hospital. On hearing about his hospitalisation, BJP leaders B S Yeddyurappa and K S Eshwarappa visited Shankarmurthy at the hospital and enquired after his health.

Shankarmurthy’s hospitalisation also gave rise to speculations among the Congress and the JD(S) leaders, who had busied themselves in the strategising over the removal of the BJP leader from the Council Chair. The leaders wondered whether Shankarmurthy was adopting delaying tactics to avoid the floor test.

Ever since it got the majority in the Council, the Congress has been eyeing the Council Chairman post. On May 30, a few Congress MLCs led by V S Ugrappa and Ivan D’Souza had submitted a notice to the Council secretary, seeking to move a no-confidence motion against Shankarmurthy.

As the matter could be taken up 14 days after the submission of the notice, Congress MLC H M Revanna moved the no-confidence motion against Shanakramurthy on Tuesday. When the Chair asked the Congress to prove its strength, all 33 members stood up in support. Support from at least 10 members is required for the motion to be allowed.

Shankarmurthy, has occupied the Chair for the last seven years. He assumed the Chair in June 2010, when the BJP was in power. However, after the BJP lost power, the numbers of its’ members in the Council reduced, forcing Shankarmurthy to continue in the post with JD(S)’s support. Presently, JD(S) MLC Maritibbegowda is the Deputy Chairman in the Council.

After the motion was admitted, Shankarmuthy rued that the Congress had not framed any specific charges while seeking his removal. He said that though it was against the principles of natural justice, he had allowed for the motion to be tabled “in the spirit of democracy”. He later told reporters that he had occupied the Chair with the support of BJP and the JD(S), and that the regional party would continue to support him. He said that he was confident of retaining the post.

At 2 pm, he had adjourned the House for lunch. But when the House resumed, Shankarmurthy did not chair the proceedings. 
Maritibbegowda had filled in for him. Shankarmurthy had however not left Vidhana Soudha. He had sat in his office and watched the proceedings over TV. Later, he had met with the BJP leaders to devise a strategy to retain the post. Meanwhile, KPCC president and Home Minister G Parameshwara met with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, seeking his party’s support for the removal of Shankarmurthy. 

As Gowda left the decision to his son H D Kumaraswamy, the latter held a late evening meeting with his party legislators and leaders. The Congress, with the support of three Independents, has 36 members in the Council. The magic number required is 38. The BJP has 23 members, and the JD(S) has 13. There are five Independents. 

Congress sources said that it will not seek the support of the other two independents as they were BJP supporters. The Congress is relying on the JD(S), which has however demanded that its MLC Basavaraj Horatti be made the Chairman.