WhatsApp effect: Karnataka legislature shuts door on mobile phones

BENGALURU: Following increasing incidents of MLAs getting caught watching clippings and pictures inside the House, mobile phones were not allowed inside the legislative assembly.

The legislature session started in Karnataka with governor Vajubhai R Vala addressing the joint House on Monday.

MLAs were asked to deposit their mobile phones in a specially made wooden locker in the lounge.Coupons containing numbers were issued to the members after depositing their mobiles. A marshal was also stationed near the locker to keep watch on the deposited mobiles.

In a huge embarrassment to the BJP, a party MLA was caught surfing photographs on his cellphone downloaded from WhatsApp during a serious debate on sugarcane pricing in the recently held session at Belagavi. TV footage showed Aurad legislator Prabhu Chavan zooming in on a photograph of Priyanka Gandhi, setting off a firestorm of criticism.

On the same day, another party MLA, UB Banakar, from Hirekerur in Haveri, was found playing Candy Crush Saga on his mobile.

As the TV clip went viral, legislative assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa had announced that he was contemplating imposing a ban on mobiles in the assembly.

In February 2012, three BJP ministers — Laxman Savadi, Krishna J Palemar and CC Patil — were found watching porn in the assembly. They had to resign following the incident.

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