Members cutting across the party lines protested when Belgaum MLA Sambhaji Patil first attempted to speak in Marathi and then switched to Hindi. (Agencies)
"The Constitution of India has given an opportunity for legislators to speak in any language of his choice," he said, requesting Speaker K Thimappa to allow him to speak in Hindi.
Amid the din, Thimappa intervened and requested the members to allow him to speak in Hindi as this right was enshrined in the Constitution.
"The legislator has every right to speak in any language. Don't we address issues in Hindi in Lok Sabha? Allow him to speak, it is his right," he added.
However, former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar (BJP) countered this, saying the MES legislator should learn to speak in Kannada despite having the right to speak in Hindi.
Former minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri (BJP) said one could speak in any language at home but legislators should address public issues in the state language.
Later, Patil along with another MES leader and Khanapur MLA staged a walkout from the House.
MES, which seeks to represent Marathi speaking people in Belgaum district, claims that Belgaum should belong to Maharashtra, a stand that often puts them at conflict with state political parties.
Members cutting across the party lines protested when Belgaum MLA Sambhaji Patil first attempted to speak in Marathi and then switched to Hindi.