High drama was witnessed on Wednesday at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, the Karnataka Secretariat, as a Congress MLA who resigned his assembly membership was allegedly manhandled and later "held up" in a room where embattled party leaders tried to convince him not to quit.
The more than an hour-long tension-filled drama that also saw BJP leaders and legislators protesting demanding 'release' of Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar ended with police escorting him to the Raj Bhavan after Governor Vajubhai Vala reportedly intervened.
Congress Legislature Party Leader Siddaramiah who met Sudhakar at the Vidhan Soudha denied the MLA was taken for discussion by force and slammed the BJP, accusing it of indulging in goondagiri.
After meeting the Governor, Sudhakar described the incident at the secretariat as "a small friction" but condemned the manner in which he was taken for talks, adding his wife and his other family members were 'shaken' by it.
Without naming anyone, he slammed the behaviour of "a person who has been a minister and an MLC." "The way he behaved should not have happened in democracy and civilised society. People of the country have seen it, I don't want to talk about it more.there was a way to convince me if they wanted. Im not a kinder garden student. The action is highly condemn able, he added.
Earlier, the situation turned ugly with BJP leaders and Congress supporters engaging in slogan shouting against each other before police stepped in and forcibly evicted some people, resulting in a skirmish during which some mediapersons, covering the stand-off, were allegedly attacked.
It all started as Sudhakar was about to leave after submitting his resignation letter to Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar, joining the list of 15 other ruling Congress-JDS combine MLAs who have quit over the days plunging the shaky coalition government into a crisis.
As the MLA was about to speak to mediapersons, some people, stated to be Congress supporters, surrounded and 'manhandled' him as they questioned his decision to quit.
State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao and Minister Priyank Kharge, who were also present there, tried to control the crowd and later seen arguing with Sudhakar after which they escorted him to Minister K J Georges office on the third floor of the Vidhana Soudha.
Minutes later, Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister, arrived there to convince him. On learning about the happenings, a group of BJP leaders, including MLA S R Vishwanath, went near the room where Sudhakar was hold up and demanded that he be let out immediately.
Soon more BJP leaders, including Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, V Somanna, and MLA Renukacharya, reached the spot and demanded the "release" of the Sudhakar, leading to raucous scenes.
With Congress supporters too present there, the situation turned tense and both sides shouted slogans against each other even as Police personnel arrived in large numbers to manage the situation.
Meanwhile, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa told reporters that Sudhakars wife spoke to him over phone and requested him to "rescue" her husband. She was also said to have made a similar request to the Governor.
Soon city police Chief Alok Kumar reached the Vidhana Soudha even as the situation appeared to spiral out of control.
Police then evicted some of the people who had gathered at the spot. There were reports that some media personnel were also attacked in the ensuing skirmish.
Minutes later Siddaramaiahs office released a photo of Sudhakar holding discussion with the CLP leader. Later, Sudhakar was escorted by police to Raj Bhavan as the Governor, reportedly, directed the police commissioner to produce the MLA before him at the earliest.
Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah described Sudhakar as a well-wisher and alleged BJP was indulging in goondagiri.
Stating that Congress leaders were only trying to talk to him, he said what BJP has to do with Sudhakar, he is not BJP worker, he is our MLA... BJP people are rowdies, they behaved like goondas."
Clarifying that Congress did not try to create a law and order situation, Siddaramaiah said Sudhakar was not taken by force for the discussion.
Sudhakar also described Siddaramaiah as his well wisher, but said he had explained to him the reasons for his resignation.