BJP MLA caught watching Priyanka Gandhi photo in Assembly

BELAGAVI: Two years after three legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were caught watching porn on their mobile phones while the Legislative Assembly session was on, another MLA from the same party was on Wednesday, 10 December, caught zooming in on a photo of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra- daughter of Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, on his smartphone during the Assembly session. 

The BJP’s Prabhu Chavan, who represents Aurad town in Bidar district, North Karnataka, was caught by television cameras viewing and zooming in on a photo of Ms Vadra in an ‘objectionable’ manner. Mr. Chavan did not realise that his act would be caught on camera and the images of him zooming in on Ms. Vadra’s picture would be played repeatedly on television channels later in the day. 

Although the MLA later apologised, he said, “I was not looking at Priyanka Gandhi’s picture in an objectionable manner. I merely zoomed in on her picture to read the slogan below it.” He did however admit to using his phone when the Assembly was in session. 

The Hindu reports that the act triggered widespread criticism, embarrassing the BJP, which is the Opposition party in Karnataka. The party was otherwise flexing muscles and taking on the government on the floor of the House. Kannada news channel’s TV9 crew, covering the winter session in Belagavi (Northwest Karnataka), ‘caught’ Prabhu busily using his phone during a heated argument between the ruling Congress and the Opposition over sugarcane prices.

Reacting to the episode, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said such “objectionable” behaviour was not new to the BJP. “It is left to the Speaker to decide on any disciplinary action,” he said.

This is not the first time a BJP MLA has been caught indulging in “inappropriate” behaviour in the Assembly. The then BJP Ministers in the B.S. Yeddyurappa government Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar were caught watching a porn clip on a mobile phone when the Assembly was in session. The incident resulted in a public outcry and the BJP later sacked the Ministers.

On Wednesday, another BJP MLA, U.B. Banakar, was shown by TV channels allegedly playing games on his mobile phone during the session. Interestingly, Mr. Chavan’s embarrassing episode occurred after he put up quite a show in the Assembly earlier in the day. As the gong signalling the start of the Assembly proceedings went off at the Suvarna Soudha on Wednesday morning and MLAs started walking in, Mr. Chavan entered the House carrying a basket of rejected ration cards on his head. He reportedly wanted to draw the attention of the government to the BPL (Below Poverty Line) ration cards that were rejected in his constituency during the revision exercise. His experiment, however, was short-lived as the marshals rushed in to confiscate the basket. Mr. Chavan later put a garland of the cards around his neck, only to be reprimanded by Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa.

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