BANGALORE, Feb 7 (IANS): Karnataka Cooperation Minister Laxman Savadi was Tuesday caught watching a sex act on his cell phone inside the state assembly, leaving the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party shame-faced and scurrying for explanations.
Kannada TV channels showed Savadi with Women and Child Welfare Minister C.C. Patil next to him watching the act on his cell phone when the assembly was discussing a pro-Hindu group allegedly hoisting a Pakistani flag in north Karnataka recently.
The two ministers dragged a third colleague into the picture, Environment and Ports Minister J. Krishna Palemar, saying the mobile phone belonged to him.
The clipping was not a porn film but contained scenes of rape and murder of a woman in a foreign country, claimed Savadi and Patil, adding they were watching it to understand how such incidents happen in the light of a controversy over alleged sex act at a party for foreigners organised by the tourism department near Udupi, abut 400 km west of Bangalore, last week.
The incident sent shock waves across the state as dozens of people began calling the channels and newspaper offices, condemning Savadi and Patil.
Opposition parties sought immediate dismissal of the two from the ministry and their expulsion from the assembly.
This is the second incident involving sex and a BJP minister in Karnataka where the party came to power for the first time in May 2008.
Karnataka is the only state the party is ruling in South India and the scandal has hit the party in the face ahead of polling to the Uttar Pradesh assembly, beginning Wednesday.
In May 2010, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haratalu Halappa was forced to quit after he was accused of raping his friend’s wife in Shimoga, about 280 km north of Bangalore.
A group of pro-Kannada activists took to streets in Bangalore within hours of telecast of the clippings and threw stones at Savadi’s ministerial bungalow. They were chased away by police.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, facing the first major embarrassment of his six months in office, left it to assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah to investigate the incident and take action.
Bopaiah said use of cell phones in the assembly was banned and he will look into the issue and take action.
The Janata Dal-Secular state head and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said his party, which has 26 members in the assembly, will decide Wednesday on action to be taken to get Savadi and Patil sacked from the ministry and expelled from the house.
“This is a black spot on Karnataka assembly and the people of the state,” Kumaraswamy said.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah of the Congress said the two should be thrown out of the ministry and the assembly without any delay.
“This is the most shameful incident in the history of Karnataka assembly. The two should be sacked from the ministry and expelled from the assembly,” Siddaramaiah said.