Andhra speaker disqualifies three rebel TRS legislators

December 22nd, 2008 - 7:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Dec 22 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh assembly speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy Monday disqualified three rebel legislators of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and accepted the resignations of the remaining six rebel legislators.The speaker disqualified three legislators - S. Bapu Rao, T. Jayaprakash Reddy and M. Satyanarayana Rao - under the Anti-Defection Act.

He said all nine legislators, whose disqualification was sought by TRS for defying the party whip, attracted the provisions of the Anti-Defection Act. He, however, disqualified only three legislators on the ground that the remaining had already submitted their resignations and that he was accepting the same.

The six legislators quit during last two days fearing disqualification by the speaker. Most of them have announced their decision to join the ruling Congress party.

“Six legislators came to me and submitted their resignations. There is no question of their resignations becoming infractuous because of the disqualification petition pending against them. They ceased to be members of the house and this is what the TRS also wanted,” Reddy told reporters.

TRS had sought the rebel legislators’ disqualification for defying party whip by voting for an independent candidate in the legislative council elections early last year.

Reddy had received two petitions under the act and the matter was heard in 22 sittings. He clarified that the delay in delivering the verdict was due to the comprehensive hearing.

TRS, however, found fault with the speaker’s verdict and decided to challenge it in court. “Disqualifying a member and accepting his resignation can’t be same. If a member is disqualified it is proved that he is guilty but a member guilty under the Anti-Defection Act can’t escape punishment by submitting his resignation,” said TRS leader and legislator Harish Rao.

TRS, which is fighting for separate statehood to the Telangana region, had won 26 assembly seats in 2004 elections.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has also criticised the speaker for disqualifying only three rebel legislators. “The speaker has acted at the instance of the chief minister and has thus brought bad name to the high post he is holding,” said TDP president and leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu.

TDP alleged that the speaker’s decision was leaked and this gave time to the rebel legislators to quit. The party announced its plan to submit a memorandum to the state governor on the issue.

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