Six Himachal Pradesh Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP in RS polls disqualified by Speaker

The Congress MLAs had cross-voted in favour of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday.
Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs
Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs ANI

SHIMLA: Six Himachal Pradesh Congress MLAs who cross-voted for the BJP in the Rajya Sabha election have been disqualified from the state assembly under provisions of the anti-defection law.

The disqualified MLAs are Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo, Ravi Thakur and Chetanya Sharma.

Addressing reporters here, Pathania said the legislators attracted the anti-defection law by defying the Congress whip as they were elected on the party's tickets.

He had reserved his verdict on the disqualification of the MLAs on Wednesday.

"My order is very elaborate, it is about a 30-page order. I gave exhaustive hearings to the advocates who appeared from both sides,’’ he said.

He said that they were heard exhaustively and the record was perused.

Senior advocate Satya Pal Jain, who represented the six Congress MLAs before the Speaker, argued that they were only given the notice and the copy of the petition filed on Tuesday evening while other annexures were not supplied to them.

Jain said seven days have to be given to the MLAs for filing the reply a copy of the petition is supplied to them.

The petition has been filed by the Congress against the six MLAs who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections.

"There are five or six conditions under the anti-defection law, including seven days for reply, which have to be complied with. Even after supplying the copy of the petition, seven days have to be given for filing the reply," he said.

He asserted that the anti-defection law does not apply to voting in Rajya Sabha polls, adding that the Supreme Court has repeatedly said this.

"Satya Pal Jain who appeared on behalf of six MLAs time and again referred that they should be given more time. I told them that there is no reason to give more time, reason being it is matter of record. The petition discloses that the six members defied the party whip which was issued and whether it attracts the provisions of the anti-defection law or not and this point I had to see and it is a matter of record," argued Pathania.

"The members have marked their presence in the assembly and that is part of the record also and we have seen and yesterday when the demands and cut motions were put to vote they were not inside and when the budget was passed yesterday they were not inside the house, they defied the party whip and they have attracted the provisions of the anti-defection law,’’ he said.

Pathania said, have to see whether politics of aaya-gaya and horse-trading is being indulged in as it is against the spirit of the anti-defection law to indulge in such practices.’’

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He said, "I hold that the respondents incurred disqualification and I declare that the six people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.’’

"As per my order, they cease to be MLAs of the Assembly, through this order is subject to judicial scrutiny,’’ he said

Meanwhile Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has been holding parleys with ministers and MLAs at his official residence Oak Over since today morning.

The party observers, DK Shivakumar, Bhupesh Bhagel and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, have been meeting party legislators at a private hotel.

Also the BJP legislature party met on yesterday night in the presence of BJP national vice president Saudan Singh at a hotel and chalked out its future strategy.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs
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Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs
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(With inputs from PTI)

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