In BJP or not? Hearing on disqualified MLAs gathers momentum

Posted By: Pti
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Bangalore, Jan 17 (PTI) Did the five disqualified MLAselected as independents join the ruling BJP or not? This wasthe crux of the argument during the final hearing today on thepetitions filed by them challenging the Speaker''s order.

Counsel for these MLAs submitted before the full bench ofthe Karnataka High Court that their status was shown asindependents in the Legislative Assembly Secretariat recordsas recently as September 3 last year.

P M Narendraswamy, Gulihatti D Shekhar, D Sudhakar,Shivaraj S Thangadagi and Venkataramanappa were disqualifiedon October 10, a day before the vote of confidence taken bythe B S Yeddyurappa government, which he won.

Days earlier, the five, along with 11 BJP rebel MLAs, hadwithdrawn support to the Yeddyurappa government.

Before the bench comprising Justices Mohan Shantanagoudar,S Abdul Nazeer and A S Bopanna, their counsel argued thatthere was no material evidence before Speaker K G Bopaiah toprove that they had joined BJP.

Counsel K G Raghavan termed as "matter of conjectures andsurmises" the assumption that by participating in politicalfunctions they have joined BJP. "It is important to ascertainthe date on which they have joined," he said, stressing thatsuch an act had never been committed.

Satya Pal Jain, counsel for two MLAs, C T Ravi and D NJeevaraj, on whose petitions, along with those filed by onevoter each from five Assembly constituencies represented bythe Independents, the five were disqualified by the Speaker,sought to argue that they have joined the BJP by theirconduct.

He pointed out to the five MLAs attending legislatureparty meetings, being issued whip by BJP and received by themand their becoming ministers, adding, inference need to bedrawn from their conduct.

Jain submitted that while they charged the Yeddyurappagovernment with corruption, nepotism and favouritism, in theirletter to Governor H R Bhardwaj withdrawing support to theGovernment, they did not cite a single allegation in theirpetitions.

The five colluding with the 11 BJP rebel MLAs had tried totopple the Government and form an alternative government withthe opposition, Jain alleged. .

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