Parliamentarians world over are paid by the electorate to solve people's problems and discuss matters of the state. Public service is their motto and raison d'être.
But for some, the motto is - In Lust We Trust.
Indian media reported Wednesday (8 Feb) that three Karnataka ministers (Karnataka is one of the states in the Indian federation, which has its capital in India's IT mecca, Bengaluru) have resigned. Reason? They were allegedly caught on camera watching porn on a cellphone in the state Assembly.
They took this action reportedly "to save the party's image." The state's Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda, of the rightwing party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), forwarded their resignations to the Governor which has been accepted.
It should be noted that the errant politicians belong to a party that often assumes a moral high ground in its political postures.
As the story goes, the erring trio--Lakshman Savadi, CC Patil and Krishna Palemar --were filmed by a TV channel that was broadcasting proceedings in the Assembly.
"Sources say the ministers allegedly viewed two clips on a phone - one was pornographic, the other was a news story on a rape," the report said.
This is an exact replay of what happened in Indonesia in April last year.
An Indonesian politician, belonging to the staunchly Islamic Prosperous Justice Party, had to resign after he too was caught watching sexually explicit videos on his tablet computer in parliament.
Arifinto, 55, was filmed watching pornography for several minutes as fellow MPs debated plans to build a new parliament building. Ironically, this lawmaker had helped pass a tough anti-pornography law in Indonesia which had been criticised by the Western press.
Of course, one can't blame technology (smartphones and tablets) for bringing porn to the august House.
But seriously, why is it that a politician will feel horny in a place like a Parliament or Assembly? Is that why it is said that power is the most potent aphrodisiac?
I know I'm being flippant but lawmakers who keep talking about censoring the hoi polloi should first learn to censor themselves. Can they pass a law that makes accessing porn in parliament or assembly an offence? Or if they can't control their fingers, can ISPs block such sites on their devices?
Zafar Anjum is the online editor of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia.
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