Four rebel JD(U) MLAs disqualified from Bihar Assembly

PATNA (PTI): Four JD(U) MLAs were disqualified from Bihar Assembly on Saturday for anti-party activities, including cross voting in Rajya Sabha election. With this, membership of eight rebel JD(U) MLAs has been terminated since last month by the Assembly Speaker under the provisions of anti-defection law following the party’s recommendation after the legislators were accused of backing two independent candidates Anil Sharma and Sabir Ali for Rajya Sabha seats in June polls instead of party’s official candidates.

The disqualified MLAs are Ajit Kumar (Kanti,Muzaffarpur), Raju Singh (Sahebganj, Muzaffarpur), Poonam Devi Yadav (Bigha, Patna) and Suresh Chanchal (Sakra, Muzaffarpur). The legislators cried foul alleging that were not given a proper chance to present their case and would move court against the decision. The development does not pose any threat to JD(U) government in Bihar as RJD, Congress, CPI and three Independents continue to extend outside support to it since last year.

Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on Saturday passed the order in the presence of four legislators against whom the ruling party had initiated proceedings for termination of their membership for anti-party activities, Assembly secretary in-charge Hareram Mukhiya said. Chaudhary disqualified these four rebel JD(U) MLAs under the provisions of the anti-defection law, Mukhiya said.

The JD(U) Chief Whip Shrawan Kumar welcomed the Speaker’s decision and said that the disqualified lawmakers deserved punishment for working against their party. In a strong warning to other rebel ruling party MLAs, he said they should also be prepared for strict and anti-defection proceedings would be initiated against them soon in an incremental manner.

The Speaker had reserved his order on disqualification proceedings against these four JD(U) MLAs last month, the Legislative Assembly secretary in-charge said. With disqualification of four MLAs, the JD(U)’s strength has come down to 111 in a 243-member Assembly. The BJP has 88 members in the House followed by RJD (24), Congress (5), CPI(1) and Independents (5).

Suresh Chanchal, whose Assembly membership was terminated, alleged that the legislators were not given proper chance to present their case during hearing of disqualification proceedings against them. The Speaker had passed a unilateral verdict after meting out similar treatment to four others, Chanchal alleged.