NEW DELHI: Six
Bahujan Samaj Party
(BSP) MLAs who had joined the ruling Congress in Rajasthan in 2019 are likely to play a crucial role in case chief minister
is called to take a floor test to prove his government's majority in the Assembly.
The “status” of the six MLAs was called into question in June, ahead of the voting for three Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan, when BSP general secretary Satish Mishra wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner and sought that the six legislators be debarred from voting as Congress members.
In his letter on June 17, Mishra had said, “Six MLAs were elected on party symbols allotted by Mayawati and after winning polls, their names were duly notified in Election Commission’s gazette notification. However, speaker of Rajasthan assembly changed their nomenclature in his records without any notice to BSP. We don’t have a tie-up with Congress at national or state level, which is a mandatory condition under 10th schedule of
Constitution of India
.” The MLAs include
Jogendra Singh Awana
, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Singh, Sandeep Yadav and Deepchand.
Political analysts believe the issue is likely to be flagged off again if the government goes for a floor test. In Rajasthan’s 200 MLA-strong assembly — where the majority mark is 101 — the Congress has 107 seats while the BJP has 72. Sachin Pilot has claimed support of 30-odd MLAs.
A senior BSP leader told TOI that the party is still awaiting the Election Commission’s response to their letter. “We plan to move court on why we were not informed about Rajasthan assembly speaker’s decision to change the MLAs nomenclature.”
According to senior constitutional expert Subash Kashyap, while any member of the assembly can file a petition with the speaker to seek disqualification of defected MLAs, the party whose MLAs have defected also have the option of approaching a court of law. “The votes of defected MLAs in case of a floor test are valid as long as they are not disqualified by the speaker.”
cited previous rulings where the court said the defected MLAs weren’t allowed to vote unless the “merger included the party as a whole, not just a few lawmakers”.