| Jaya Bachchan
New Delhi, March 17: Jaya Bachchan was today stripped of her Rajya Sabha crown by the President for continuing to hold an office of profit after being elected to Parliament.
Jaya is the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council. The Constitution bars MPs from holding offices of profit under the central or state governments other than those exempted by Parliament.
The disqualification was greeted as much with shock as dramatics by the actor’s Samajwadi Party colleague Amar Singh, who is under similar fire as Uttar Pradesh Development Council chairman.
Amar offered to step down in an apparent gesture of solidarity soon after, but changed his mind on advice from mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav. Sources, however, felt his offer was more pre-emptive than anything else.
Jaya’s disqualification takes retrospective effect from July 14, 2004, the day she was appointed to the film council. She was elected to the Rajya Sabha a month earlier.
The notification was signed by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam last evening on a recommendation from the Election Commission, which is consulted by the President in such cases.
“Having carefully considered the facts on record as contained in the opinion of the Election Commission and being fully satisfied' the President has disqualified Smt Jaya Bachchan from her Rajya Sabha membership,” an official release said.
The Election Commission had said Jaya stood disqualified under sub-clause (a) of clause 1 of Article 102 from the day she was appointed to the film council. Articles 102 and 103 lists grounds for disqualification of MPs.
Jaya’s unseating has sparked a war of words between her party and the Congress as a former AICC leader Madan Mohan Shukla had moved the petition.
The Samajwadi Party termed the decision a “politically-motivated” one. Amar trained guns on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying she should be disqualified as she too held posts of profit.
Sonia is chairperson of the National Advisory Council, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial trusts. The Telugu Desam has filed a petition against her.
“I know that several petitions, including top leaders of a certain political party are lying with the President. I hope that the President and the Election Commission will show the same urgency in these matters as in the case of Jaya Bachchan,” Amar said.