ASSAM Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi on Monday disqualified nine rebel Congress MLAs who defected to the BJP last month. State BJP president and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal said they would challenge the decision in the high court.
“The nine MLAs have been disqualified following nine separate petitions made by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief whip Nilamoni Sen Deka that they had flouted the Anti-Defection Act by joining another party,” said Pranak Kumar Das, principal secretary of the Assam Legislative Assembly.
While the CLP had filed the petitions on December 1, the Speaker gave them one week to reply, said Das. They sought more time on December 8. The Speaker then called a hearing on December 19. “They were disqualified after the Speaker heard both sides,” said Das. The strength of the Congress in the 126-member Assembly is now 68.