Debating India

UTTAR PRADESH

Speaker’s relief for rebel BSP MLAs

Thursday 2 March 2006

Hints at action under anti-defection law against deserters

LUCKNOW: In a new twist to the fast-paced political drama in Uttar Pradesh, Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey on Wednesday night virtually recognised rebel BSP MLAs supporting the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government with hints of action under the anti-defection law against deserters from this group after three Ministers resigned.

A day after the Allahabad High Court stuck down the decision of an earlier Speaker approving the split in the BSP and the subsequent merger of 40 MLAs with the ruling Samajwadi Party, Mr. Pandey said the rebel group would henceforth function as an independent outfit, the Jantantrik Bahujan Dal.

He hinted that provisions of the anti-defection law would apply against those members of the rebel group who choose to break ranks with the rebels.

His decision, announced at a hurriedly-called press conference, came significantly after three members of Mr. Yadav’s Ministry - Jaiveer Singh, Surendra Vikram and Dharam Pal Singh - quit along with another MLA, Ramji Shukla, saying the High Court verdict had reverted them to the BSP.

Citing Tuesday’s judgment, Mr. Pandey said one of the judges had said that the matter of recognition of the rebel MLAs rested with the Speaker. "Accordingly, I have decided that the seating arrangement of the breakaway group of BSP MLAs would remain as before," he said.

The Speaker said the court had only derecognised the split. "The application for granting recognition to the outfit is still pending and has to be decided by the Speaker as directed by the court."

Interim arrangement

Mr. Pandey said his decision was not on the split or merger of the rebel outfit with any party but only an interim arrangement till the disposal of the entire matter.

Asked whether action could be taken against the four MLAs, including the three Ministers, the Speaker said the provisions of the anti-defection law would apply if there was defection.

"If there is a petition before me by the leader of the group, I shall take a decision accordingly," he said.

Jaiveer Singh, Surendra Vikram Singh and Dharm Pal Singh, all Ministers of State, met Governor T.V. Rajeshwar and submitted their resignations contending that they would not like to continue in their ministerial posts following the court order. They were led by BSP Legislature Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya.

Mr. Maurya claimed that of the 40 MLAs, who had been "reverted" to BSP-fold, many others were also going to join their parent organisation.

"Reduced to minority"

He also claimed that the Mulayam Government has been reduced to a minority and deserved to be dismissed so that fresh elections could be held.

State Congress chief Salman Khursheed met the Governor and apprised him of the "constitutional crisis" over the continuance of the 18 Ministers, who belonged to the BSP rebel group, following the High Court order. - PTI

See online : The Hindu

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