|Ravindra Rai and Gyanendra Gyanu
Four dissident JDU MLAs appeared before Bihar Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on Wednesday, in response to a show-cause asking them why they should not be disqualified from the House for anti-party activities.
All the four MLAs — Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, Neeraj Singh Bablu, Rahul Sharma and Ravindra Rai — asked for time from the speaker to submit a written reply to him.
They maintained that since the budget session of the legislative bodies will begin from June 27, they would be submitting their replies after the session, as they would now be busy with legislative work.
“The speaker has assured us he will give us time to submit our replies. But he said he would take a formal decision on our appeal for time on June 27, the day the budgetary session begins,” Gyanu said.
The four dissident MLAs who were called to the speaker’s office separately declared they had not indulged in anti-party activities and the voting in the Rajya Sabha does not attract the anti-defection law.
They had earlier said they would not leave the party. “We will continue our fight for democracy and legislators’ dignity. It is our resistance that has led to the party MLAs and workers being called for talks with senior leaders, including Nitish,” Gyanu had said,
They were issued show-cause from the speaker’s office after the chief whip of the JDU and parliamentary affairs minister, Srawan Kumar, wrote a letter to the speaker seeking their disqualification for voting against the official candidate in the Rajya Sabha bypolls on June 19.
Kumar said the four dissidents had proposed the names of Independent candidates and it appeared they were no longer continuing as members of the JDU. He dubbed the dissidents’ act “immoral” and “illegal”. Eighteen JDU MLAs voted against the party’s official candidates. But JDU candidates won, being bailed out by Lalu Prasad’s RJD.
However, action has been sought against only four of the 18 dissidents in the belief that the rest will fall in line.
“Though the JDU and RJD have come closer and there is talk of an alliance against the BJP, the ruling party feels uncomfortable relying on the RJD for the survival of the Jitan Ram Manjhi government,” remarked a senior JDU leader. He stressed that efforts were on to woo back the remaining dissident MLAs.
However, even after defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls, there are no signs of the dissidents giving up their fight against former chief minister Nitish Kumar. They have held meetings and sworn to fight for “internal democracy” in the party. With the budget session lasting for over a month, the treasury bench will have to remain on its toes to ensure passage of money bills in the Assembly. The dissidents have said they will not upset the Manjhi government but Nitish loyalists view the assurance with scepticism.