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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Amidst Rajasthan Rajya Sabha poll drama, a BSP sideshow

The BSP issues a whip to its six former MLAs, who merged with Congress, to vote for BJP-backed Subhas Chandra.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
Updated: June 5, 2022 7:16:29 am
BSP state president Bhagwan Singh Baba. (Photo: Facebook/Bhagwan Singh Baba)

The BSP Saturday issued a whip asking six MLAs who were elected on party tickets but merged with the Congress in 2019 to vote for BJP-backed Independent candidate Subhash Chandra in the coming Rajya Sabha elections on June 10, warning them that not doing so would be considered a violation.

Media baron Chandra’s entry has thrown Congress plans in the state up in the air. The vote of the six former BSP MLAs could be decisive — with the legality of their membership yet to be decided by the Supreme Court. Incidentally, four of the six have not joined the Congress contingent holed up in Udaipur ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, though they are still expected to vote for the Congress.

BSP state president Bhagwan Singh Baba said in a statement that there was no confusion, “Since you won on a BSP ticket, you are bound to act as per the whip of the BSP.”

The MLAs in question – Rajendra Gudha, Lakhan Meena, Deepchand Kheria, Sandeep Yadav, Joginder Awana and Wajib Ali – had won the 2018 Assembly elections as BSP candidates but merged with the ruling Congress in September 2019.

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The Congress dismissed the BSP’s claims. “No court has given a stay on their Congress membership, so they continue to be Congress members. Their (BSP’s) claims have no legal validity. And if they have any paper to back the claims, they should share it. For all practical purposes, they are Congress members,” a party source said.

Two cases are pending in the Supreme Court regarding their status as MLAs. One was filed by BJP Ramganj Mandi MLA Madan Dilawar and the other by the BSP. Dilawar has sought disqualification of the six MLAs, citing, among other things, that the BSP was still a national party and that it had not merged with the Congress at the national or state level. He said that the MLAs had “voluntarily given up the membership” of the BSP by joining the Congress.

Making a similar case, the BSP said that the MLAs are liable to be disqualified under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, which deals with anti-defection.


“As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, the case is still pending at the admission level. The matter is subjudice, no interim order to any effect has been passed,” said advocate Prateek Kasliwal, who has been representing Assembly Speaker C P Joshi, who issued an order accepting the merger in 2019.

Back in 2020, the BSP had issued a similar whip to the six MLAs to vote against the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the Assembly, during former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot’s rebellion within the Congress. However, the MLAs had voted for the Gehlot faction and, crucially, faced no action.

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First published on: 04-06-2022 at 09:20:56 pm

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