Congress eyeing 7 BJP seats
Amid Hectic Political Activity All Eyes On Speaker
Jammu, Nov 28: Even as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is yet to announce his decision on the disqualification of suspended BJP legislators, hectic political activity has begun in the winter capital with the state Congress – an alliance partner in the state’s coalition government with NC - eyeing all the seven seats in case of a by-poll to improve its tally of MLAs.
The Congress, according to sources, has stepped up the campaign to ensure early exit of the ‘tainted’ BJP legislators from the Assembly to enforce by-poll on these seats. Being a part of the coalition government, Congress knows that in case of by-poll it has upper hand on all these seats with BJP credibility in the region at the lowest ebb, sources said adding that is why the party is keen on early by-poll on these seats.
The soaring aspiration of Congress, observers said, can stir a fresh spar with its coalition partner NC. They said that NC would not like ousting of the BJP legislators as in case Congress bags a major chunk of these seats in by-poll, it will gain an upper hand in the coalition.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the leaders of different political parties are visiting the Speaker Legislative Assembly MA Lone on routine basis, calling for his final verdict on the disqualification of the suspended BJP MLAs at the earliest.
“Congress being strong contender for the seats and having 17 members in the lower house is keen to go for by-election on these seats to get an upper-hand over its coalition partner, National Conference, especially in the wake up of growing demand for rotational Chief Minister in the state,” sources said.
Insiders claim that the Congress legislators have been visiting the civil secretariat from last one week and series of meetings were held in the office chambers of two ministers, who are reportedly leading the campaign. “These meetings even continued today as number of MLAs were seen discussing the matter with a minister for over an hour”, sources claimed.
NC has 28 members in the Assembly, while its coalition partner, Congress has 17 members. In case the 7 BJP MLAs are expelled and by-elections are held, Congress is understood to have an upper hand and even if it manages five more seats, the party strength in the Assembly can go up to 22.
The suspended BJP MLAs represent Domana, RS Pura, Hiranagar, Reasi, Basohli, Bani and Jammu West.
Not only the Congress but even the Panthers Party MLAs are also in favour of the early verdict. As per reports, three Panthers Party MLAs, Harshdev Singh, Balwant Singh Mankotia and Yashpal Kundal called on the Speaker in his office at the Assembly Secretariat, this morning and discussed the issue at length. They, sources said, impressed upon the Speaker that if anybody violates the party whip he/she is bound to lose the membership of the Legislative Assembly.
“As the Act says”, said a Panthers Party legislator, whishing not to be named, “These MLAs are bound to be expelled from the Assembly.” Asked about Speaker’s response, the legislator said that Speaker gave a two point reply, saying, first the matter was sub-judice and second the biggest technical snag was to prove the offence on the part of BJP MLAs.
“Although their party (BJP) has expelled them for cross-voting but it is still a challenge to prove who the actual culprit was for that being a secret ballot voting,” said Panthers Party legislator quoting the Speaker.
Asked about his party’s stand he said, “We surely want them to be expelled as they had gone against the aspirations of public and had defied the party whip, and we have expressed our views to the Speaker during the meeting”.
A Congress MLA, who also met the Speaker, said the biggest issue at present was to prove them guilty. “I do agree that BJP MLAs are at fault but we are not sure that it is these seven MLAs”, he said.
The BJP MLAs, sources said, have also met the Speaker urging him to announce his decision at the earliest.
Speaker M A Lone, however, said that he will announce the decision before the annual budget session of the state legislature. “The whole matter is under my examination and at the appropriate time I will be coming out with my verdict”, Lone told Greater Kashmir.
Asked about the constitutional status of the seven BJP MLAs in coming Budget Session of the Assembly, the Speaker said, “Well, before that I have to give my verdict whether they are deemed to have been expelled or not. Even I have to adjudicate upon that under what circumstances the expulsion by their party will unseat them.”
Asked about the prescribed laws, he again said that he should have to consider constitutional aspects as well as the rules governing the Anti-Defection Law. “So far both the groups of BJP members are approaching me for their respective remedies,” he concluded.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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