The strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi assembly might come down to two from three in the 70-member House.
The ethics committee of Delhi assembly on Wednesday recommended expulsion of Sharma from the membership of the sixth assembly, after finding him guilty of using “derogatory” and “defamatory” language against AAP legislator Alka Lamba.
During a discussion on night shelters in the winter session last year, OP Sharma, called AAP legislator Alka Lamba “raat bhar ghoomne wali (someone who loiters around the whole night)”.
Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had suspended Sharma for rest of the winter session and had also referred the matter to the Ethics Committee for further probe.
Sharma is also facing criminal charges for assaulting JNU students and teachers who had assembled outside the Patiala House court. The incident took place when the court was hearing the bail plea of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya’s bail on February 15. However, this case is not in the purview of the Assembly’s ethics committee.
Recalling previous incidents when Sharma was “fined” and “warned of unruly behaviour” in the Vidhan Sabha, the ethics committee report, tabled in Delhi assembly on Wednesday, described the Vishwas Nagar legislator as a “habitual offender”.
Terming the report as “biased”, Sharma said, if expelled, he would challenge it in court.
“Given the fact that Om Prakash Sharma, in addition to being found guilty in the very serious matter under investigation, he also has to his credit the record of being named by the speaker most number of times for indecorous conduct in the House. The committee is left with no choice but to recommend Sharma’s expulsion from the membership of the sixth legislative assembly of the government of NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi,” the committee said in its report.
A motion “that the House agrees with the report” will be taken up for discussion in assembly, and voting, on Thursday.
Senior AAP leaders said the motion is likely to be approved by the House. AAP has 67 members in 70-member House while the rest three are BJP members.
THREAT TO ASSEMBLY MEMBERSHIP
Ethics Committee’s recommendation will be discussed by the Assembly for a decision
- Who is OP Sharma?
- Om Prakash Sharma is the BJP MLA from Vishwas Nagar. He is a graduate from Satyawati College and lives in the Defence Enclave area in east Delhi.
- Why is he facing expulsion from Assembly?
- During a discussion on night shelters in the city, Sharma had called AAP MLA Alka Lamba "raat bhar bahar ghoomne wali (someone who loiters around the whole night)". The Speaker referred the matter to the Ethics Committee, which found Sharma guilty of using "derogatory" and "defamatory" language against the AAP legislator.
- The panel described Sharma as a "habitual offender", who had been warned often for unruly behaviour.
- What next?
- The report will be discussed in the House and a motion will have to be passed for Sharma’s expulsion.
- Why it’s significant?
- Sharma’s expulsion will reduce BJP’s strength from 3 to 2 in the 70-member House. Rest of the members are all from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party. It will further escalate the political fight between AAP and BJP.
- Role in JNU controversy
- Sharma hit headlines when he was caught live on camera beating up a JNU supporter outside the Patiala House courts. Talking to reporters later, he said he would have killed the man if he had a gun. He is facing criminal charges in the case.
“Going by the mood prevailing among the legislators due to Sharma’s repeated behaviour in the House, the motion is likely to be passed,” said a senior AAP leader.
Reacting to the recommendation, Sharma alleged that the ruling party was using its brute majority to muzzle the voice of opposition and, if expelled, he would challenge his expulsion in court.
“I still stand by the words I used. But my intention was not wrong. The AAP legislator has herself claimed that she had visited night shelters at 2am and gone out as a part of drug de-addiction campaign at 4 am. I only repeated what she proclaimed about herself,” Sharma told reporters.
Leader of opposition, Vijender Gupta termed the recommendations of the ethics committee as “biased” as all nine members of the committee were members of the ruling party.
“Moreover, while the committee has recommended action against him, it says nothing about the fact that he was manhandled by AAP legislators in the House,” he said.
The report, however, underlined in its conclusion that OP Sharma attended five of its ten meetings, and was supplied with all materials that he asked for.
“After the seventh sitting, Mr Sharma was asked in writing to convey to the committee if he wished to bring before the committee and other evidence/facts. To the said communication, there was no response from Mr. Sharma,” the report reads.