The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Speaker notice to BJP rebels

Lucknow, Nov. 12: Speaker Kesari Nath Tripathi today admitted the BJP petition seeking disqualification of 10 rebel MLAs and issued them showcause notices. They have been asked to reply by November 19.

Realising that the noose is tightening around their necks, the dissidents have decided to challenge the action legally. They indicated that this would not dampen their fight against the ruling combine and they would vote against its candidate in elections for the lone Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council seat on November 18.

Stating that the secretariat had found the BJP petition in order after scrutiny, Tripathi made it clear that the rebel MLAs would be allowed to vote for the November 18 elections. “The petition was reviewed and found correct on the merits of the Anti-Defection Act but the BJP leadership has not urged me for an interim order to bar these legislators from voting in polling for the Upper House seat.”

The rebels, who are facing action for trying to put up Suresh Nanda as a candidate for a Rajya Sabha bypoll, anticipate that the Speaker’s decision would go against them. “We are seeking legal opinion but there will be no let up in our campaign against the Mayavati government,” dissident MLA Kovid Kumar Singh said.

While BJP trouble-shooters hope that the drastic action against 10 rebels would stem the rot within the party, the anti-Mayavati camp is all set to fire its next salvo. Suspended Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) legislator Samar Pal Singh is scheduled to meet Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri tomorrow and demand that a special session of the Assembly be convened and Mayavati asked to prove her majority.

Support of the RLD’s 14 members has become vital for Mayavati after seven Independents and a dozen BJP rebels deserted her. Samar Pal Singh claimed that some of his colleagues might join him soon. “Wait for some time because this government has to go,” he said.

If the 10 BJP legislators are disqualified, the strength of the House will be reduced to 393 and Mayavati will be left with a tenuous majority even if the BJP rebels decide to toe the party line. “In this scenario, a change of sides by five RLD legislators could tilt the balance against her and increase the pressure on the Governor to call for a special session of the House,” political observers said.

But the Samajwadi Party has reconciled to the fact that the Governor will not summon the special session. “He is behaving like an RSS man and not as a constitutional authority and so, we have decided to bring a no-confidence motion the moment the Assembly holds its session,” party leader Ashok Bajpai said.

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