FOR THE third time since August, Governor Ram Naik on Saturday wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, asking him to send Election Commission’s opinion on a complaint seeking disqualification of BSP MLA Umashankar Singh.
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In January 2015, Naik had disqualified Umashankar, first-time MLA from Rasra seat of Ballia, and Bajrang Bahadur Singh, then BJP MLA from Pharenda in Maharajganj. This after Lokayukta N K Mehrotra sent a report to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in November 2014, stating that the duo had worked on government contracts despite being elected members of the state Assembly, in possible violation of the Representation of People Act.
The government had referred the matter to the Governor, who is qualified to take a decision on disqualification of MLAs. Naik went on to seek the EC’s opinion on the findings of the Lokayukta. After receiving EC’s suggestion, he had disqualified the two MLAs.
Umashankar had challenged Naik’s decision in the Allahabad High Court, which went on to quash the Raj Bhavan’s order on May 28 and directed the EC to give its opinion after conducting its own inquiry.
In his letter to Zaidi, Naik has asked that he be informed about the EC’s decision, keeping in mind the UP elections, so that he can take a decision on the petition pending under Section 192 of the Constitution.
A Raj Bhavan press communique said the Governor has also quoted the high court’s order asking the EC to take a quick decision. “The unnecessary delay is sending a wrong message about the EC in the media and general public,” Naik has written.
After Naik’s his first letter to the EC in August, the poll panel had informed Raj Bhavan in September that it will send its opinion after completing the inquiry. Naik had spoken to Zaidi over phone on September 16 and sent another reminder to him on November 5, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.
Byelection to Pharenda seat, which was held in 2015 following Bajrang Bahadur’s disqualification, was won by SP’s Vinod Mani Tripathi. Bajrang Bahadur, who was again the BJP nominee, had come third.