K. Prathapchandra Shetty quit as Chairman of the Legislative Council on Thursday, after reading out a nine-page resignation letter in which he said the recent “untoward incidents” in the House “hold a mirror to the system”, and seeking an apology from the people of Karnataka.
A motion to remove Mr. Shetty had been tabled in the Council and it was set to be taken up for discussion. However, he chose to quit and submitted his resignation to Deputy Chairman M.K. Pranesh. Now, senior JD (S) member Basavaraj Horatti is all set to be elected as the new Chairman.
Mr. Shetty, a four-time MLA and a three-time MLC, was unanimously elected to the post in December, 2018 during the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. However, the JD(S) and BJP recently came to an understanding to dislodge Mr. Shetty. BJP member M.K. Pranesh was elected Deputy Chairman, with JD(S) help. The number game had led to uproarious scenes in the House on December 15, 2020, when the late S. L. Dharme Gowda, then Deputy Chairman, sat on the seat of the Chairman when Mr. Shetty was not in the House.
Mr. Shetty said in his letter that amidst the “political reality of the numerical strength of parties being the basis of most decisions”, a Chairman’s task of protecting Constitutional values was a “walk on the sword’s edge”.
He was pained that some decisions he took in people’s interest led to a question over the credibility of the Chair. “The Chairman’s post is a Constitutional post and if it is changed every time numbers change, it may become difficult to conduct the House well, in today’s political situation,” he said.
Saying that he was pained by the situation leading to untoward incidents in the Council during his term as Chairman, Mr. Shetty said he considered it his “Rajadharma” to fight it legally when the credibility of the Chair was in question. Mr. Shetty further said he had submitted a report on the incidents that rocked the Council in December to the Governor and hoped he would take suitable action.
Sources in BJP said that the Business Advisory Committee meeting on Friday will likely extend the Council session by two more days till Tuesday. The notification for Chairman’s election will likely be issued on Monday and election held on Tuesday, a senior BJP member said.