Congress, RJD seek disqualification of defectors from Bihar Assembly

State Congress president meets Speaker

February 28, 2024 10:52 pm | Updated 10:53 pm IST - Patna

Bihar Congress President Akhilesh Prasad Singh. File

Bihar Congress President Akhilesh Prasad Singh. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Bihar Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh on Wednesday met Assembly Speaker Nand Kishore Yadav seeking the disqualification of MLAs who have defected from the party.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal has also said that it would seek disqualification of those who had defected.

On February 27, Congress legislators Murari Prasad Gautam and Siddharth Saurabh, along with RJD MLA Sangita Kumari, had switched sides to sit with the NDA block inside the State Assembly. Earlier, when the newly formed NDA government was seeking the trust vote on February 12, three RJD MLAs — Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav — had switched sides to vote in favour of the NDA and sat in the Treasury Benches.

“The BJP is misusing its power to offer inducements to the MLAs or issue threats through agencies like the CBI and the ED. We condemn the poaching of our MLAs, of whom Murari Prasad Gautam, till recently, was a Minister,” Mr. Singh told journalists after he led a delegation of party legislators to meet the Speaker. Mr. Gautam had been the Panchayati Raj Minister in the previous mahagathbandhan government, which comprised the RJD, the JD(U), the Congress and three Left parties.

Also Read | Three mahagathbandhan MLAs shift to NDA side in Bihar Assembly

“The conduct of the two MLAs was tantamount to giving up the membership of their party and invite anti-defection law. If the Speaker will not take any decision on this, the party may go to court,” Mr. Singh added.

Mr Singh said, “The Speaker said that he would look into our representation and study it to take a decision on this as per the rules.”

Mr. Singh, however, dismissed questions on whether any more Congress MLAs in Bihar were likely to defect. “You all are speculating on the basis of the absence of some of our members in the House. But, then, even a large number of BJP MLAs remain absent from today’s Assembly session,” Mr. Singh said. 

Congress Legislative Party leader Shakil Ahmed Khan, who was part of the delegation, described the defectors as gaddars (traitors) and said they have been “stripped of the party’s primary membership”.

Meanwhile, RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha too said his party would seek disqualification of those who had switched sides. “I wonder how the Speaker is allowing this to happen on the floor of the House?” he asked.

All the defecting mahagathbandhan MLAs have maintained silence over their next steps. However, there are reports that they would be joining the BJP to contest the 2025 Assembly election. BJP leaders and legislators were seen welcoming them, felicitating them and taking them inside the State Assembly.

With the support of the six defecting MLAs, the ruling NDA currently has 134 legislators in its camp while the number of mahagathbandhan legislators has come down to 108. The RJD is also set to lose the status of the single-largest party inside the State Assembly with its effective strength coming down to 75 from 79.

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