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Undeterred, SP says it will renominate Jaya

Friday 17 March 2006, by GOPINATH*Vrinda

New Delhi, March 17 : The Samajwadi Party (SP) is undeterred by the disqualification of party nominee and cine star Jaya Bachchan by the President. It declared today that the party would re-nominate her in the bye-election for the vacant seat. Speaking to the media, SP general-secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh said, ??Our party will support Jaya Bachchan again and we will have the strength in the House yet again to bring her back to victory. We will give her name as and when the notification for the election is announced. It could take a few weeks.’’

Singh almost upstaged Bachchan and her dramatic disqualification today from the Upper House, when he marched up to President A P J Kalam with his own resignation letter in his pocket. But counsel prevailed on Singh, he admitted, when his leader UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav asked him not to take any decision without consulting the party’s parliamentary board.

Singh said, ??I went to Rashtrapati Bhavan today with my resignation letter to usher in a new culture of politics. After all, there is an inquiry pending against me too on holding two offices of profit, and I thought I should set an example for all those leaders who also hold two offices of profit in government. However, my leader, Mulayam Singh, said that since it was the party which sent me to the Rajya Sabha, it was the parliamentary board which would decide about what I should do with my resignation. Left to me, I would resign.’’ Singh, however, did not say when the board would meet.

It took two years for the Election Commission to submit its recommendations to President Kalam on the eligibility of Bachchan to the Rajya Sabha, and it took two weeks for President Kalam to give his opinion. The President’s official release noted ??Bachchan stands disqualified after ascertaining all the facts, and it takes retrospective effect from July 14, 2004 when she was appointed to the UP Film Development Council (UPFDC) post.’’ She was elected to the Rajya Sabha a month earlier.

Singh also appealed to President Kalam and the Election Commission to enquire into the list of other leaders who also hold two offices of profit.

When asked why the UP government waited for two years to usher in a Bill seeking to take away the UPFDC from the list of office of profit, that too with retrospective effect from 2002 (the SP-led government has recommended 79 posts to be struck off the list last fortnight), Singh said, ??We were not aware that the post was on the list.’’ When reminded that Bachchan had resigned from the post after she was challenged by her rival candidate, a Congress nominee, on the very grounds she was dismissed today, Singh said, ??There was no necessity then, she was advised to do so.’’

Singh also added that the same post in the UPFDC was formerly occupied by Bachchan’s film colleague and MP Shatrughan Sinha. ??But no Congress member then thought it fit to challenge and question Sinha’s propriety in holding two offices of profit. It is clear that the Bachchan’s are being targetted specifically.’’ The Bill to declassify 79 posts is, however, stuck with state Governor TV Rajeswar, who has sought clarifications from the government, especially on the issue of ??retrospective effect.’’

See online : The Indian Express

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