As the alleged suicide of a DySp created a huge political storm in Congress-ruled Karnataka, an aggressive opposition on Monday stalled proceedings in the Assembly demanding resignation of minister K J George named by the deceased along with two top police officers for his extreme step.
Forcing three adjournments over the death of Mangaluru DySP M K Ganapathy, opposition BJP and JD(S) members alleged that government was trying to “cover up” the case by handing it over to CID and by raising questions about Ganapathy’s mental health as a result of his alleged family dispute, even before the probe.
Ganapathy (51) was found hanging from the ceiling fan in a room at a lodge in Madikeri on July seven, prior to which he gave an interview to a local TV channel, saying the minister and A M Prasad (IG-Intelligence) and Pranab Mohanty (IGP-Lokayukta) would be responsible “if anything happens to me.”
As the Opposition launched an all-out attack on George demanding his sacking, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah defended him seeing “anti-minority” angle in BJP’s charge.
“You BJP people always target George or Roshan Baig (Minister) or Qamar ul Islam (former minister), because you are anti-minority. You are playing politics out of it. George has nothing to do with this,” he said.
The Chief Minister’s remarks attracted strong criticism from the opposition benches with Opposition Leader Jagadish Shettar saying “you should be ashamed to make such remarks.”
As Shettar accused Siddaramaiah of indulging in minority appeasement and politics over death, a war of words broke out between both sides.
Siddaramaih said he was speaking the “truth”.
Both BJP and JD(S) also demanded withdrawal of a suo motu statement made by Home Minister G Parameshwara at the beginning of the discussion.
Accusing the government of trying to spoil relationships within the family, they questioned “who are you to say that Ganapathy’s relationship with his wife was troubled? Who are you to comment on it? Take it back.”
The Home Minister’s statement quoting DySP’s father Kushalappa’s police complaint said that Ganapathy was under depression as he had family issues especially with his wife.
“When Ganapathy was working in Bengaluru, his wife and children were in Mangaluru. After he was promoted and transferred as DySP to Mangaluru, she continued ill treating him, because of this my son was under depression.
Losing hopes in life, he has committed suicide,”Parameshwara said quoting from Kushalappa’s complaint in his statement.
Calling the Home Minister’s statement “irresponsible”, opposition memebers said even Kushalappa had denied it.
He has told the media that he was only asked to sign on a statement written by police, which he did,” said K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan, BJP MLAs from Kodagu from where Ganapathy hailed.
As government did not respond to the opposition demand for withdrawal of the statement, they again entered the well of the House.
Amidst pandemonium, Siddaramaiah stood up to reply to the discussion.
Shettar warned they will not allow the House to function if government replies without conclusion of the debate.
Speaker Koliwad also came under attack from opposition as he expressed his helplessness.
Shettar said the Speaker did not convene a meeting of floor leaders to discuss about smooth functioning of the House.
Following this, the Speaker again adjourned the House and called the meeting of floor leaders.
As the House resumed after the meeting, Shettar said the Home Minister or the Chief Minister had to withdraw their comments in their reply tomorrow on Ganapathy’s alleged troubled relationship with his wife in the statement made on Monday.
He said “You have made comments against a woman and she can’t defend herself here. It should be withdrawn. You should be ashamed for making such remarks.”
In an interview to a Kannada TV channel, Ganapathy’s wife Pavana said they were married for 20 years and there was no problem in their relationship.
“All of a sudden, how can they say we had a family problem,” he said.