Raj Bhawan writes to Speaker for action, instead
THE SAMAJWADI Party move on Friday to parade 21 MLAs belonging to rival political parties before Governor TV Rajeswar to pre-empt any Rashtriya Lok Dal move to withdraw support seems to have boomeranged.
Taking a serious note of the move, the Raj Bhawan has sent a communiqué to Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey informing him about the legislators’ conduct.
Listing names of MLAs who met the Governor this morning to express their solidarity with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Raj Bhawan has attached copies of their letters to the governor. By sending the communiqué, the Raj Bhawan has obviously tried to bring into focus the Anti Defection Law under which action could be taken against the MLAs for switching over loyalties.
Now the ball is in the Speaker’s court. Sources in the Vidhan Sabha secretariat said the Speaker was in Faizabad and was likely to reach the State capital late in the evening. “Only the Speaker would be able to comment on the issue,” said a senior officer in the secretariat.
Besides the Raj Bhawan, various political parties have also taken strong exception to the 21 MLAs’ move and even have questioned how could the MLAs extend their support to the Mulayam government.
Bharatiya Janata Party state president Keshari Nath Tripathi said petitions seeking disqualification of three out of 12 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, who met the governor on Friday, were already pending with the Speaker.
Moreover, five MLAs who went to Raj Bhawan had been declared unattached and hence they could not associate themselves with any political party, he said.
Jan Morcha president Raj Babbar also said the MLAs’ conduct violated constitutional provisions and made a mockery of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. This showed the panic that prevailed in the Samajwadi Party, he said.
Earlier on Friday, Transport Naresh Agarwal and Minister for Revenue Ambika Chadhary told the Press that those who went to the Raj Bhawan included 12 MLAs from the Bharatiya Janata Party, two from the Bahujan Samaj Party, one from the Congress and six independents. “All the 21 MLAs have decided to support the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in the House,” said Agarwal and Chaudhary.
“This will help in dispelling the impression that the Mulayam government is in minority,” said Agarwal.
Sources, however, said only 19 MLAs were presented before the Governor.
Incidentally, all the MLAs who went to Raj Bhawan had already disassociated themselves from their respective political parties in one way or the other. While five of the 12 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs had been already unattached from the party in the Vidhan Sabha, the remaining seven had publicly joined the Samajwadi Party recently.
The BSP had also expelled the two MLAs before they joined the SP. The Congress too had expelled its MLA from the party for cross voting in the recently-concluded Rajya Sabha elections. The independents too had been in any case supporting the Samajwadi Party.
“The MLAs have switched over loyalties in view of the good work done by the Samajwadi Party-led coalition government to make UP Uttam Pradesh,” said Agarwal.
Already, the ruling coalition has prolonged the Monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha. The State Legislature has been in session since August 21, 2006 although there have been only a few sittings of the two Houses. This, according to sources, is being done to counter any move to dismiss the Mulayam government.
Then there were reports of Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh meeting the Governor on Thursday evening. The RLD, according to reports, is in close touch with the Congress discussing the issue of sharing of seats in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections. Asked if the move was linked to Ajit Singh’s meeting the Governor, Agarwal said the RLD chief had already clarified that his party continued to support the Mulayam government.
On the other hand Chaudhary said, the Governor was the constitutional head and hence it was the responsibility of the ruling coalition to inform him of the decision of the 21 MLAs. Chaudhary dared the Opposition to move a no-confidence motion against the Mulayam government.
Significantly, the move to parade the MLAs before the Governor is in sharp contrast to the Samajwadi Party’s declared stand that Raj Bhawan should be no place for trial of strength and that the majority of the government should be tested on the floor of the House.