The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Double-role trouble for MP Jaya
- EC recommends disqualification as RS member, party plans re-election

New Delhi, March 6: A day after thanking destiny for her successful public career, Jaya Bachchan is set to lose her status of MP.

The Election Commission has recommended to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that Jaya be stripped of her Rajya Sabha seat because she had continued to hold an office of profit after her election. As chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Board, she enjoyed all the perks of a state cabinet minister.

Legal experts said the President is bound by the recommendation, but Samajwadi Party sources suggested their MP would not have much to lose. If she is disqualified from the House, the party would get her re-elected during the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, the Samajwadi Party’s chief whip in Parliament, Mohan Singh, told The Telegraph.

The party suffered a dual setback with another petition seeking to unseat its general secretary Amar Singh from the upper House. The complaint, forwarded to the poll panel by the President, mentions that Amar is chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council.

The petition against Jaya was filed by a rival in the Rajya Sabha polls, former AICC general secretary Madan Mohan Shukla, whose nomination papers had been rejected by the Speaker’s office.

Jaya saw the hand of the Congress ' she had a public spat with the Nehru-Gandhi family in 2004 and her husband Amitabh had issued a ceasefire statement ' and said she might move the Supreme Court. “The complaint has come from (the) Congress party,” Jaya pointed out.

She underscored that she was a Padma Shri while Amitabh and her late father-in-law, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, were Padma Bhushans. “It’s a shame that people like us are not allowed to sit in Parliament.”

Jaya went on to say she wasn’t the only MP holding dual offices, the Congress’s Sonia Gandhi and Karan Singh, too, chaired various trusts and organisations.

The Congress hit back by terming her charge of a conspiracy “irresponsible”.

“The charge is irresponsible as it would unnecessarily bring into disrepute constitutional bodies like the Election Commission and people in high places like the President,” spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

Shukla, a Kanpur-based advocate in his early fifties, had lodged the complaint last October saying that when Jaya filed her nomination papers in June 2004 as Samajwadi candidate, she held the state film board job.

The Constitution bars an MP from holding any office of profit under the central or state governments other than an office exempted by Parliament.

Asked if she might move the Supreme Court, Jaya said: “Definitely. Why not'” She quoted a verse by Harivansh Rai that said there is a limit to tolerance.

Yesterday, on a visit to her father-in-law’s ancestral village, Pratapgarh, she had told a gathering: “It is God who has brought me this far. Even in this village. It is destiny. And I am not going to go back (quit politics).”

Chief minister and Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav accused the Congress of “systematically” maligning his party members. He said he hadn’t decided whether to approach the President to counter the commission’s move.

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