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Speaker adjourns case till Mar 25: BSP protests

Written by: Staff
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Lucknow, Mar 22 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker Mata Prasad Pandey today adjourned till March 25, the hearing in the case related to defection of 40 BSP MLAs to the ruling Samajwadi Party in 2003, despite strong protest by the BSP counsel -- who demanded prompt decision on the legislators' status.

Submitting his third application demanding fresh party position of UP assembly after the February 28 Allahabad High Court decision, BSP counsel Satish Chandra Mishra said till the speaker decided on the issue, there was no question of attending the hearing.

Mishra also objected to the ''incomplete'' affidavit submitted by 26 rebel MLAs claiming they belonged to the Loktrantrik Bahujan Dal (LBD).

Meanwhile, counsel of five MLAs demanded his application of March 11 be decided immediately, in which these legislators had recalled their decision of September 6, 2003 of joining the LBD.

After hearing the arguments of the BSP counsel and others, the speaker maintained he would pronounce his verdict only after hearing the case on March 25.

Mishra said there was lot of confusion due to non-issue of fresh party position list of UP assembly following the HC judgement, in view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections.

''Quashing of the earlier speaker's verdict of September 6 and 8, 2003 demands a fresh party list...if it is not done, it attracts a contempt,'' he observed.

''We have already submitted our version and till any verdict is given, there is no question of attending hearing as we have no other submission to make,'' he maintained.

On the other hand, counsel for rebel MLAs Gaurav Bhatia objected to the submission of the BSP counsel stating the HC had asked the speaker to decide the application of the LBD for recognition.

He also objected to the application moved by five MLAs to withdraw their petition saying it could not be separated as the speaker was hearing the entire case.

Counsel for the 5 MLAs -- Jaiveer Singh, Surendra Vikram Singh, Ram Krishna, Ramji Shukla, Dharampal Singh -- Jyotindra Mishra said the speaker should decide on the application of the MLAs as they wanted to withdraw their cases.

''Each individual has the right to withdraw case anytime and the speaker should give his decision first before hearing the main case,'' Mishra said.

The BSP counsel said as the case would be heard by the Supreme Court on March 24, hence the speaker's decision was vital so that a clarity was formed in the case.

Meanwhile, rebel BSP MLA and state culture minister Rajendra Singh Rana told mediapersons the BSP was trying to ''force'' the speaker to give his decision. ''It is not a legal way to do so.'' Contradicting there was any force by the ruling UP on the rebel MLAs for giving affidavit before the speaker today, Rana said 26 legislators had given the affidavit and rest would soon follow suit.

He said the affidavit contains minute-to-minute details about the LBD meeting held on August 28, 2003.

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