CLP action: leaders wrangle over procedures

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 17. The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) action removing its deputy leader, M. P. Gangadharan, has triggered off a procedural wrangle.

The incumbent, M. P. Gangadharan, contended that the CLP action is unconstitutional and the CLP secretary, K C Joseph asserted that it was as per procedures. Mr. Gangadharan said that he had been elected as per Section 6 of the KPCC's CLP rule.

According to this rule, the leader and the deputy leader of the Assembly are elected for a five-year term. He said that he could be removed from his post only through a no-confidence motion in which three-fifths of the CLP members should be present and vote. He said such a no-confidence motion was possible only under Section 17. Accordingly, such a notice should be signed by not less than 15 members, and delivered 10 days prior to the meeting.

He said that only 32 persons had participated in the CLP meeting that removed him from his post. He had been given a show-cause notice two days earlier to which he had replied. He said that the provisions relating to the removal of members from the CLP had been used for removing him from his post. This provision related to removal of a member in the event of violation of party whip and Government's written instructions.

Wanted to quit

He said he wanted to resign much earlier when Mr. Antony resigned as Chief Minister, but refrained from doing so because he did not want to add to the confusion. He said that he did not wish to work under a Chief Minister who did not know the rules. Even if he were reinstated, be did not wish to continue. The Congress, he said, was a democratic party and authoritarianism would not sell, even it happened to be practised by the Chief Minister. He alleged that the Chief Minister's camp had disregarded Mr. Antony's appeal against taking action against him.

Mr. Joseph asserted that Mr. Gangadharan had been removed as per the provisions of the CLP rule. He said that 36 MLAs had participated in the meeting, which was the requisite number for getting the motion passed. Asked how the CLP could take such an action, especially when these posts had been distributed according to factional affiliations, Mr. Joseph said the issue was not a question of factional equations, but one of members observing party discipline.

Defends action

He said Mr. Gangadharan had violated party discipline by participating in the rally that had been banned by the party high command, besides criticising the Government and the Chief Minister. He asserted that a majority of the CLP members had approved the motion, and even several who could not turn up at the meeting had informed the Chief Minister of their solidarity with him and support for any action the CLP might take.

Mr. Gangadharan has been issued another notice seeking further explanation since his reply to the show-cause notice was not satisfactory.

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