Two nominated Lok Sabha MPs belonging to the Anglo-Indian community have joined the BJP and should be treated as BJP MPs from now on, the government has informed the Lok Sabha. Following this, the operational strength of the BJP in the lower house has gone up to 282, the original mandate it had got in 2014, since these MPs will now be bound by the party’s whip.
Following the appointment of Sumitra Mahajan as Lok Sabha Speaker and the death of Ratlam MP Dilip Singh Bhuria, the BJP’s number had gone down to 280. Ratlam was recently won by the Congress.
The Anglo Indian MPs, Richard Hay from Kerala and George Baker from West Bengal, were nominated to the Lok Sabha in July this year. Under the Constitution rules, the President can nominate two Anglo-Indian members if, in his opinion, the community is not adequately represented.
In a recent communication accessed by The Indian Express, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has written to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that both these MPs “have requested the BJP leadership about their willingness to join the BJP” and that the “BJP leadership has accepted their request”. “I request you to kindly treat Prof Richard Hay and Shri George Baker as BJP members of Lok Sabha,” Naidu has written.
“Under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, nominated Anglo-Indian MPs can join a political party within six months of their nomination. This has happened earlier too,” former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Achary said. “Their status as nominated members will continue after joining a political party, but they will be bound by the whip of the party when, for instance, when it comes to voting. Practically, they’ll become members of that party.”
Both MPs attended the BJP parliamentary party meeting the PM addressed Tuesday.