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Process to disqualify 24 errant MPs begins

A Correspondent in New Delhi | September 08, 2008 22:13 IST

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Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images] has begun the process for disqualification of 24 lawmakers, the highest -- 8 of them -- from main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party alone, for defying their respective parties' whip in the July trust vote.

Their parties had written to the Speaker to disqualify them under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution that prohibits defection and bind the MPs to abide by the whip of the parties on whose symbol they are elected.

The Samajwadi Party that quickly swung to the UPA side after the left parties withdrew support to the government have the second highest 6 MPs who defied its whip to vote in support of the trust vote.

For that matter, almost every main political party in the House had turncoats in the crucial trust vote that the government won comfortably. They include Congress, Janata Dal-United, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, National Loktantrik Party and Nagaland People's Front.

With the Lok Sabha's session starting only from October 17, the Speaker seized the opportunity to utilise the time gap to conduct the proceedings under the anti-defection law. The Lok Sabha Secretariat had already served the show cause notices on the concerned MPs, asking why they should not be expelled for defying their parties' whip.

The Speaker is calling two or three MPs a day for personal hearing and will complete the process by the third week of September. He would then table a report in the House for ratification of their expulsion.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Monday sent formal notice to the MPs for the second part of the 14th session of the House to start from October 17. It says subject to exigency of the government work, the session is likely to conclude on November 21.

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