BHOPAL: Even as the controversy over Prahlad Lodhi's membership of the legislature from Powai is still raging, caste-hopping Congress MLA Jajpal Singh 'Jajji' has come on the authorities' radar in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP has sought his removal from the legislature.
Jajji is accused of changing castes during various elections he has contested to gain political office. He was first elected as a Janpad Council member under the general quota and then became the President of Ashoknagar municipal council, a post reserved for the OBCs, claiming to be from the Keer caste.
Later, he presented himself from the 'Nat' caste while contesting the Assembly seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes from Ashoknagar. However, during the investigation of the police and the administration, he was found to be of Sikh faith as claimed in educational documents submitted for an arms licence. That led to questions on whether he could claim the benefits of the caste.
A state-level investigation committee rejected his OBC and Scheduled Caste certificates as fake. At present the matter has come before the committee after the intervention of the High Court. The court has directed that Jajji be given an opportunity to be heard on the charges. He has been barred from receiving any benefits as a scheduled caste member. The BJP has moved the Governor to disqualify him forthwith.
BJP candidate for the post of Municipal President Baijnath Sahu had filed a petition against Jajji in the High Court Gwalior Bench.
The court ruled that Jajji won the 2013 Assembly election on a fake certificate, but by the time the verdict was delivered the term of the legislator had ended.
On the other hand, the Collector of Ashoknagar had mentioned in the inquiry report that Jajji faked documents to win elections. Following this, a case of cheating was registered against Jajji in Kotwali Ashoknagar.
Principal Secretary in the Scheduled Caste Welfare Department, Vinod Kumar, said based on the report of the Collector, a reply was sought from Jajji in 15 days. The MLA wanted another 15 days to reply, which are scheduled to end on November 20. Thereafter, the matter will be referred to the investigation committee.
Former Advocate General Purushendra Kaurav said: "In an almost similar situation in Gujarat, Governor Om Prakash Kohli, after consulting the Election Commission, had disqualified an independent MLA Bhupendra Singh from Morwa Assembly constituency, a seat reserved for the ST candidate after his certificate turned out to be fake. Jajji should also be disqualified under Article 191 of the Constitution. The High Court has not validated the caste certificate which should be basis enough to suggest Jajji was not even eligible to contest the election in 2018."