Fax their replies to Speaker’s office reiterating their resolve to get disqualified

Sticking to their earlier stand to disqualify them from the Assembly for defying the party whip, as many as 15 Congress and TDP rebel MLAs sailing with the YSR Congress kept away from the hearing on the disqualification petitions taken up by the Speaker Nadendla Manohar on Monday.

The nine Congress rebels were supposed to depose before the Speaker today and the rest of the TDP MLAs on Tuesday.

Not only did they ignore the notices served on them by the Legislature Secretariat but faxed their replies to the Speaker’s office reiterating their resolve to get disqualified. Curiously enough, the contents of the two page letters faxed from the YSRC Legislature Party office (in the Assembly premises) on the MLAs’ personal letter heads were identical.

Conspiracy

The rebel Congress and TDP MLAs maintained that they knowingly defied the whip. They saw a conspiracy by the Congress and TDP, as the two parties wanted them to be disqualified but not prepared to face by-elections. They urged the Speaker to disqualify them and notify the vacancies and hold by-polls. Sources said the move by the rebels was a clever ploy to dare the Speaker to take action on one hand and ensure that they do not lose their membership.

“The MLAs facing disqualification proceedings should come personally and give their version instead of faxing their replies,” a senior Congress leader remarked.

The proceedings began on Monday noon with Congress Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy accompanied by legal counsel G. Jithender Reddy waiting for the rebel MLAs to attend the hearing in Speaker’s chambers, which was converted into a makeshift court.

After waiting for an hour the Congress Chief Whip came out as rebels kept away from hearing. The Speaker’s office gave copies of the letters faxed by the rebels.

Seek amendment

Irked by the developments, the Chief Whip at a press conference said: “They have no respect for the courts and now they have shown the same attitude towards the Speaker.”

“All the rebels should be disqualified and we are prepared to face the by-elections,” he said and demanded that amendment should be made in the Constitution to debar those who indulge in anti-party activities and switch their loyalties frequently, from contesting elections for five years.