BJP wants Jharkhand speaker to decide on suspended lawmakers

August 21st, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Aug 21 (IANS) Jharkhand’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday demanded that the assembly speaker must dispose of a petition filed by it seeking disqualification of five lawmakers, who were suspended by the party after they switched loyalty to former chief minister Babulal Marandi. BJP had suspended the five legislators last year when they switched their loyalty to Marandi.

Of them, two suspended BJP legislators - Manohar Tekriwal and Vishnu Bhaiya - have now extended support to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren.

“Delay in judgement emboldens rebels to switch their side at their convenience. We demand that the speaker should come out with his judgement in 24 hours,” said P.N. Singh, state BJP president Thursday.

Marandi was the first chief minister of Jharkhand. He quit the BJP in July 2006 and formed Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).

After the fall of the BJP government in September 2006, the five legislators switched sides to Marandi’s party. BJP suspended them and filed the petition with Speaker Aalamgir Aalam to disqualify them. The petition is pending with the speaker.

Jharkhand’s present Madhu Koda government was reduced to a minority after JMM withdrew support and has to seek trust vote Aug 25. JMM is also making efforts to form an alternative government with support of suspended BJP legislators.

Interestingly, even the BJP government headed by Arjun Munda had run with the support of the rebel legislators.

Enos Ekka of Jharkhand Party (JP) and Kamlesh Singh of National Congress Party (NCP) revolted from their party and supported the Munda government in 2005. The petition was filed with the then speaker S.S. Namdhari by both JP and NCP.

NDA leaders wanted disqualification for both Ekka and Kamlesh who had joined Madhu Koda while withdrawing support to the government. Namdhari, who had reserved judgement on disqualification of both legislators, opted not to deliver it considering the political situation.

Three and a half years have passed without the speaker delivering a judgement on disqualification of the legislators.

Hearing a petition, the Jharkhand High Court issued notice to the speaker for the delay.

“The process is on. I will give enough time to legislators so everyone gets a chance to present his side of the case,” Aalam had said while reacting to the court notice.

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