Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker UT Khader sparked a controversy on Thursday when he asked the state government to call a meeting with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to discuss about a separate VIP lane for MLAs and ex MLAs at toll gates in the state.
The Speaker withdrew his demand minutes later, saying that a “separate VVIP lane is not practical”.
“A separate lane is already there at every toll but wasn’t there at the Mysuru-Bengaluru toll gate…There is no question of a separate VVIP lane, it is not practical,” Khader told the media.
Khader also clarified that the suggestion was made by an MLA and not by him. The suggestion came after a few MLAs alleged that they were being harassed at toll booths and asked to show I-cards while passing through.
BJP Slams UT Khader's Suggestion
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya slammed the demand. “Karnataka Assembly Speaker and Congress MLA UT Khader’s suggestion of making special lanes for MLAs at toll plazas reeks of elitism and displays the Congress’s VIP culture mindset. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through rules & personal actions, is trying to put an end to this colonial era culture, the Congress tries to perpetuate VIP culture at every opportunity,” Surya tweeted.
Congress MLA Alleges Mistreatment On Mysuru Road Toll Plaza
Earlier, raising the issue in the assembly, Congress MLA Narendra Swamy said, “When I was travelling to Bengaluru on the Mysuru road, I was stopped at one of the toll plazas and disrespected by the staff.”
“I carried my MLA pass and even security personnel were also with me but the staff behaved like they were goondas. They do not have any respect for lawmakers elected by the people. There is a need to avoid constant pointless arguments with toll plaza staff,” he said.
A few other MLAs echoed Swamy, saying that they had similar experiences at toll plazas. Karnataka’s Public Works Department Minister Satish Jarkiholi said he would set up a meeting with NHAI officials on the issue. Khader then suggested: “When you meet the NHAI officials, ask for a separate lane for MLAs and ex MLAs at all toll plazas in the state.”