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Speaker denies rebels time

Patna, July 19: Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary has decided to hear the JDUís petition against four party dissidents on July 23, rejecting the leadersí appeal to shift it to Saturday.

Chaudhary heard the partyís disqualification petition against the four today before fixing the next round of hearing. The party has sought disqualification of eight members for voting against its Rajya Sabha nominees.

Four among them who proposed the rival candidates and served as their polling agents were summoned today. The quartet ó Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, Ravindra Rai, Rahul Sharma and Neeraj Singh Bablu ó would have to again appear before the Speaker on July 23. Although they had appealed to shift the hearing to next Saturday, as they would be busy with the Assembly proceedings, the Speaker rejected it.

The dissidents, who appeared to be reconciled to their disqualification from the Assembly, accused the Speaker of not giving them a fair hearing.

Rai said: ďMy advocate objected to the petition of the partyís chief whip, Shrawan Kumar, seeking my disqualification. He had named MLA Arun Manjhi as a witness for my alleged anti-party activities. My lawyer wanted to cross-examine Manjhi. The Speaker refused and said if we wanted, we can ask Manjhi to appear. It is strange that the Speaker is not giving us adequate time to explain our stand.Ē