Jagan loyalists in assembly to get one more chance

YS Jaganmohan Reddy
Hyderabad, Feb 12: The 16 rebel Congress MLAs and one of the Praja Rajyam Party, facing disqualification proceedings for voting against Kiran Kumar Reddy government in December 5 trust vote, will get one more chance to present their case before Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker during the Budget session beginning Monday.

Though it was expected that Speaker Nadendla Manohar would pronounce his verdict on the MLAs' disqualification prior to the commencement of the Budget session, it did not happen.

Informed sources told PTI that the Speaker was willing to give a fresh chance to the rebel MLAs to present their case individually on the disqualification proceedings.

The 17 MLAs, owing allegiance to YSR Congress party of Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, did not appear before the Speaker to present their version on the disqualification issue despite repeated notices by Manohar.

Violating the whips of their respective parties, they had voted against the Kiran Kumar Reddy government on the no-confidence motion on December 5.

All the 17 MLAs appeared before the Speaker en masse only once. However, the Speaker wanted to strictly go by rules and procedures and asked the MLAs to appear before him individually.

The Jagan-loyalists, however, remained defiant and maintained that they need not heed the Speaker's advice.

The lone PRP MLA B Sobha Nagi Reddy also tendered her resignation and wanted the Speaker to either disqualify her or accept the resignation.

Accordingly, everyone expected the Speaker to take an ex-parte decision on the disqualification issue before the start of the Budget session.

But the tale took a curious twist when some of the 17 MLAs reportedly complained to the Speaker that they were "prevented" from appearing before him and present their case, the sources said.

Following this, the Speaker is said to have decided not to take any decision on the disqualification issue in haste.

Since they continue to be MLAs, the 17 can attend the Budget session from tomorrow and even seek a chance to meet the Speaker personally, the sources said.

They claimed that the ruling Congress bosses here reportedly got 'feelers' from some of the rebel MLAs that they would like to get back into the parent party.

The state Congress leadership has also indicated that it would be ready to "pardon" the rebels if they repented their mistake and reaffirmed their loyalty to the party.

"Most of the rebel MLAs are unsure of their victory in the event of a by-election and our prospects too are not good.

"It will be beneficial to both of us if they come back, thereby averting a by-election," a top Congress leader remarked.


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