SPEAKER MATA Prasad Pandey today disqualified four out of the five rebel Samajwadi Party MLAs against whom petitions seeking disqualification had been filed for voting in favour of Bahujan Samaj Party candidates in Rajya Sabha polls.
The Speaker read out the operative part of his 31-page order ruling that by voting in favour of Bahujan Samaj Party candidates the four MLAs — Omvati Devi, Sunder Lal, Ratan Lal Ahirwar and Kalyan Singh Dohre — have “voluntarily given up membership of Samajwadi Party.”
Hence petitions seeking disqualification were being accepted and “four MLAs stood disqualified from membership of the Vidhan Sabha under provisions of para 2 (1) (a) of 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India,” said the Speaker.
This is the first case of disqualification by the Speaker for cross voting in the Rajya Sabha election in which the provisions of the para 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule have been invoked. As amended Representation of People Act provided for open voting (showing of the ballot paper to authorised agent of political party) the MLAs stood exposed for cross voting and invited the wrath of party leadership.
The Speaker noted that “voting for the BSP in violation of party whip is an act of indiscipline. This conduct of the MLAs was against party loyalty.” He also quoted the reply of Dohre, who said that SP did not have “any existence in Kannauj (his constituency)” and was an alien party there.
Significantly, Samajwadi Party general secretary and Minister for PWD Shiv Pal Singh Yadav had filed the petition seeking disqualification of five SP MLAs who had cross voted in the Vidhan Sabha. Amidst indications that a compromise had been reached between the SP leadership and the fifth MLA Kamlesh Pathak, the Speaker had earlier delinked the petition filed against him from that of the four MLAs and listed his case for August 21.
The Speaker, in his order, also referred to Pathak’s case and said the MLA had submitted his clarification to the SP leadership. Pathak hoped that the petition seeking his disqualification would be withdrawn, said the Speaker adding that hence he was passing orders in respect to four MLAs only. The Speaker listed eight points that he said were considered for delivering the disqualification verdict.
Today’s disqualification of four MLAs comes close on the heels of action against five LBD MLAs — Jaiveer Singh, Dharam Pal, Ram Krishna, Ramji Shukla and Surendra Vikram Singh —who had been disqualified on June 10, 2006 for shifting their loyalty from SP to BSP.
With the disqualification of four MLAs the total strength of the Samajwadi Party has come down to 152 in the Vidhan Sabha. CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, however, continued to command a comfortable majority as the splinter BSP group titled Loktantrik Bahujan Dal (33 members) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (15 members), UP Loktantrik Congress (2 members), one ABC MLA, five unattached BJP MLAs and about a dozen independents stay behind him. There would be 11 vacancies in the 403-member House when it assembles on August 21.