Patna: The seven rebels JD (U) MLAs, who had been served show-cause notices by assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhury, appeared before him in the assembly annexe and pleaded they had not violated the party discipline by voting for the two independent candidates in the Rajya Sabha byelection recently. JD (U) chief whip Shrawan Kumar had written a letter to the Speaker seeking their disqualification from the state assembly.
The seven were among the 18 JD (U) MLAs who had signed the nomination papers of the independent candidates and voted against the party’s official nominees. Their lawyer SBK Manglam told the Speaker that Shrawan’s petition was not maintainable as the procedure of affidavits and stamps prescribed in the rules of business of the Bihar assembly had not been followed.
Environment and forest minister P K Shahi, who is a former advocate general of the state, appeared on behalf of Shrawan and said the petition was maintainable and pleaded the rebel MLAs be disqualified.
After hearing both the parties, the Speaker asked Poonam Devi, Raju Kumar Singh and Ajit Kumar to submit their written replies on July 19. The remaining four – Gyanendra Kumar Singh Gyanu, Rahul Kumar, Ravindra Rai and Neeraj Kumar – were asked to submit their written statements on “merit” of the case on July 16. The Speaker will deliver his judgement on July 19.
The JD (U) legislature party has decided to seek disqualification of more rebel MLAs and petitions against them would be filed next week.
The Speaker is working under pressure from a “top” leader, Gyanu told TOI after the hearing. He did not identify the top leader though. He apprehended that a fair trial was not possible at this stage.
In the Rajya Sabha byelection held on June 19, Pavan Kumar Varma and Ghulam Rasool Balyavi, the two JD (U) candidates, had defeated two independent candidates, Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali, who were backed by the rebel JD (U) MLAs. The Speaker refused to speak on the matter.