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J&K BJP issues disqualification notices to 7 MLAs

Source: PTI
May 23, 2011 21:37 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday issued notices to its seven members of legislative assembly, disqualifying them for cross-voting in Legislative Council polls on April 13.

"Acting leader of BJP legislative party Jugal Kishore Sharma on Monday issued to 7 party legislators, notice for disqualification from the posts of MLAs," BJP State Chief Spokesperson & National Executive Member Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons.

He said that as per para 2(1) (b) of the 7th Schedule of J&K Constitution, BJP chief whip Ashok Khajuria filed a petition for disqualification of the legislators to acting leader of house Jugal Kishore Sharma for violating the whip.

The 7 MLAs are Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Bharat Bhushan, Prof Gharu Ram Bhagat, Baldev Sharma, Master Lal Chand, Jagdish Raj Sapolia and Durga Dass, he said. "The objections, if any, to notice can be filed within one week," he said.

Dr Singh said all aspects are being looked at by the party High Command. On May 19, seven suspended MLAs defied summons of the central leadership and today refused to  appear before the party's disciplinary committee in New Delhi, questioning the grounds on which they were suspended.

"The decision has been taken and we will not be going to appear before the disciplinary committee. None of us (seven suspended legislators) will go," suspended Leader of BJP Legislative Party Chaman Lal Gupta said.

"What can we do there? What will we go there for? They have called all 11 MLAs, but out of them seven of us have been declared culprits and four have been exonerated -- but on what basis," he asked.

"We have been repeatedly asking the party leadership on what basis we have labeled as culprits. Is there any document or proof with them? But they have no answers," he said, adding, "We want answers from them."

This is the second time the BJP legislators have defied the order of the party High Command. Last month, they went to J&K Speaker M A Lone and withdrew their  resignation letters, which they had submitted to party chief Nitin Gadkari after the cross-voting.

Seven of the 11 BJP MLAs voted in favour of NC and Congress candidates during the LC polls and only four votes were polled in the favour of the party's official candidate Ranjit Singh.

Besides Gupta, the other MLAs who defied the summons are Baldev Raj Sharma (Reasi), Jadish Raj Sapolia (Basholi), Bharat Bhushan (Domana), Master Lal Chand (Bani), Durga Dass (Hiranagar) and Garu Ram (R S Pura).

Gadkari had suspended the seven MLAs after a high-level Parliamentary Board meeting on April 20. He also issued them show-cause notices.

Rest of the four MLAs -- deputy leader of BJP Legislative party Jugal Kishore Sharma, chief whip Ashok Khajuria, Sham Choudhary and Sukhnandan Choudhary -- were given a clean chit.

A day after the cross-voting incident, the party sought the resignation letters of all the 11 legislators on April 14.

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