BJP MLA’s conviction and jail term suspended by MP High Court
Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday stayed the conviction and the two-year jail term awarded to BJP leader Prahlad Lodhi till January 7, 2020, triggering demands by the saffron party for his reinstatement as an MLA.
The MP speaker had disqualified Lodhi and declared his assembly seat vacant a week ago after a special court convicted the Pawai MLA for abusing and beating a revenue officer in 2014.
Lodhi’s disqualification brought down the strength of the assembly to 229, giving the Congress, that has 115 MLAs, clear majority on its own. The party leaders were hoping to further increase their narrow numerical superiority over the BJP—which has 107 MLAs--by winning the Pawai seat, vacated after Lodhi’s disqualification. The Thursday order by the MP High Court in Jabalpur came as a relief to the BJP.
MP BJP vice-president Vijesh Lunawat said the speaker had shown “haste” in disqualifying Lodhi and should now reinstate him.
Speaker NP Prajapati couldn’t be reached for comment but the principal secretary in the assembly secretariat, AP Singh said further action will be taken after reading the order. “We have not received any court order so far. I can make a comment only after receiving and going through the order,” Singh said.
MP Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said his party was not involved in the case and it was up to the Speaker to take a decision in the view of the developments.
The court has asked Lodhi to deposit a fine and furnish a personal bond of Rs 40,000 before his November 31 appearance in the trial court.
The next date for the final hearing in the high court will be decided within two months after completion of all the procedural formalities.