A decision on a petition filed against four independent legislators about a year ago by the Bharatiya Janata Party's chief whip, Suresh Bhardwaj will be taken only after the state assembly's monsoon session that is scheduled to commence on August 31, speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail said Wednesday. "The petition has been pending for the past one year. I've sought some more documents from the BJP and a decision can't be taken right now as I've to study different aspects. It's likely any decision will only come after the monsoon session," he told this reporter.
After the BJP filed the petition against the legislators - Karnesh Jung from Paonta, Manohar Dhiman from Gangath, Balbir Verma from Chopal and Pawan Kajal from Kangra - seeking their disqualification from the assembly, Butail had issued notices to the MLAs who later replied to them.
The petition was filed by the BJP's Suresh Bhardwaj who argued since the four legislators were independents they could not support any political party. In the 68-member house the Congress party has 36 MLAs and the BJP 27 along with four independents and one from the Himachal Lokhith Party. The assembly and it will have eight sitting.
Last January Butail summoned the four legislators for a personal hearing, asking them to clear their positions. They reportedly told him they were not members of any political party. After hearing those out Butail had recorded statements of witnesses including opposition MLAs.
In the wake of a standoff between the ruling Congress party and the opposition BJP, the monsoon session was called off prematurely. Expressing their solidarity with the Congress party the four legislators held a press conference within the state assembly premises at which they pledged their support for the Virbhadra Singh led government. The four MLA had condemned the BJP for "targeting" Virbhadra in "attempt to destabilize" the state government. Bharatiya Janata Party's chief whip Suresh Bhardwaj said thatb he had asked the vidhan sabha secretariat for the replies filed by the four independent legislators. " Since the four independent legislators had not filed their reply in front of us , I had sought copies of them. We want early decision on the petion," he added.