Relief for BJP in Madhya Pradesh, membership of MLA restored after Supreme Court order
The BJP and ruling Congress had been engaged in war of words over the Speaker’s decision to cancel Prahlad Lodhi’s membership and declare Pawai assembly seat as vacant.Updated: Dec 10, 2019 12:43 IST
Madhya Pradesh Speaker Narmada Prajapati has restored the membership of BJP legislator Prahlad Lodhi, who was convicted by a special court in Bhopal, for attacking government official. The Speaker took the decision after the Supreme Court last week upheld the stay granted by the high court on his conviction.
Lodhi is the BJP MLA from Pawai constituency in Panna district.
“Leader Opposition Gopal Bhargava apprised me of the Supreme Court’s decision. Hence, I have decided to restore the status of Prahlad Lodhi as an MLA. He can now attend the state assembly’s winter session,” Prajapati said. The winter session of Madhya Pradesh Assembly begins on December 17.
“The allegation that I had taken the decision to declare his seat vacant is completely baseless,” the Speaker further said.
As per a state assembly secretariat officer, a notification to restore the status of the MLA is expected to be sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday.
The BJP and ruling Congress had been engaged in war of words over the Speaker’s decision to cancel Lodhi’s membership and declare Pawai assembly seat as vacant. The BJP had termed the Speaker’s decision as biased and unconstitutional and challenged his authority in taking such a decision.
BJP leader Bhargava had said that only the Governor was competent to take such a decision after conviction of any MLA by the court.
Lodhi had won the seat in state assembly elections held in November 2018. He was accused of beating up a tehsildar for taking action against illegal mining in the year 2014. A special court had sentenced Lodhi to two-year imprisonment on October 31 following which the Speaker cancelled his membership on November 2.
Lodhi then moved high court against the order and was given relief in the form of stay on his conviction on November 7.
Kamal Nath-led Congress government then moved the Supreme Court against the relief given to Lodhi, but the top court upheld the high court order and dismissed state government’s petition.
The Speaker’s decision to cancel Lodhi’s membership is significant because, in event of a bypoll and Congress’s win, the latter would have enjoyed a clear majority in the House with 116 MLAs.
Now than Lodhi is back, BJP’s tally in the 230-member state assembly will go up to 108 whereas Congress has 115 MLAs in the assembly and is running its government with support of seven MLAs including four independent, two from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and one from Samajwadi Party.