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After Priyanka pic row, Karnataka Assembly bans mobiles during proceedings

Use of mobile phones in the Karnataka Assembly was banned on Friday, a day after the House was rocked by chaos over a BJP member watching a zoomed in picture of Priyanka Gandhi during proceedings.

Speaker Kagodu Thimappa suspended Prabhu Chavan, BJP legislator whose act caught on TV camera triggered a storm, for a day, and pulled up Housing Minister M H Ambareesh and Congress member S S Mallikarjun for using phones in the House.

“I hereby pronounce that the use of mobile phones in the state assembly is banned. Since Prabhu Chavan was watching a picture in an indecent manner, he is herewith suspended for a day from attending house proceedings,” he said.

The Assembly proceedings were paralysed yesterday amid chaos over the BJP MLA’s conduct, with ruling Congress members on the offensive demanding action against the legislator.

BJP members had hit back at Congress seeking two-day suspension of Ambareesh and Mallikarjun from the House, alleging they were also surfing through mobile phones during proceedings.

Thimappa also announced formation of legislature ethics committee, which will help mould the personality of legislators, monitor their behaviour in the House and legislative capabilities and enhance the dignity, decorum and prestige of the Assembly.

“Already a legislature ethics committee has been formed in the Upper House, but has not met even once. However, such a committee also will be constituted in the lower house,” he added.

In a major embarrassment to BJP, Chavan was caught on a TV camera watching a zoomed in photo of Priyanka Gandhi on his mobile phone and another BJP MLA U B Banakar playing video games during a debate on the plight of sugarcane growers on Wednesday.

During the BJP rule, the then ministers Laxman Savadi and C C Patil were also in the eye of a storm after TV channels aired video footage of their watching pornographic content on their mobile phones.

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