Bihar Congress seeks disqualification of two defectors from assembly

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Bihar Congress President Akhilesh Singh addresses a press conference after meeting the state Assembly Speaker Nand Kishore Yadav

Bihar Congress President Akhilesh Singh addresses a press conference after meeting the state Assembly Speaker Nand Kishore Yadav

Patna: A day after two MLAs of the Congress in Bihar crossed over to the NDA, the party on Wednesday sought their disqualification from the state assembly.


State Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh led a party delegation that met Speaker Nand Kishor Yadav and sought disqualification of Siddharth Saurav and Murari Gautam, both of whom sat beside the ruling coalition members in the assembly on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters later, Singh said, "The BJP is misusing its power to offer inducements, and also issue threats through agencies like CBI and ED. We deplore the poaching of our MLAs, one of whom, Murari Gautam, was till recently a minister." Notably, the Congress ceased to share power in Bihar last month when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the JD(U), made an abrupt return to the NDA.

The state Congress president said the conduct of the two MLAs, was tantamount to "giving up the membership of their party", which violated the anti-defection law.


"The Speaker has said that he will study our representation and take a decision as per rules," added the state Congress chief, who, however, bristled at suggestions that his party could be hit by more defections in the near future.

"You are speculating on the basis of the absence of some of our members in the House. You should pay attention to an even larger number of BJP MLAs remaining absent from today's assembly session," Singh shot back.

Earlier, Congress legislative party leader Shakil Ahmed Khan said that both MLAs have also been "stripped of the party's primary membership".


Khan also termed the two MLAs as "gaddar" (traitors), likening them to Mir Jafar, the infamous military commander of Bengal who connived with the British during the Battle of Plassey to become the Nawab.

The two Congress MLAs had switched sides along with Sangita Kumari of the RJD. The trio has kept mum over future course of action and none of them was present inside the House during the pre-lunch session on Wednesday.

However, their felicitation inside the assembly premises on Tuesday by Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary, who is also the state BJP president, is being seen as an obvious signal that they would be joining the saffron party.


Meanwhile, RJD MP and national spokesperson Manoj Jha, whose party has lost four of its MLAs to the NDA camp, said, "We will definitely seek disqualification. I wonder how the Speaker is allowing this to happen on the floor of the House." Notably, three RJD MLAs -- Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav -- were allotted seats beside the ruling coalition members a fortnight ago when they also voted against senior party leader Awadh Bihari Chaudhary who got voted out as the Speaker in a no-confidence motion.

Jha also alleged that there has been a groundswell of support for RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is on a state-wide tour following the loss of the deputy CM's post as a result of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's abrupt return to the NDA.

He alleged this public support has rattled the BJP which is now taking recourse to the use of money power.


"But they do not realise that the RJD has produced thousands of MLAs since it came into being and cannot be cowed down by such antics," he said.

The ruling NDA at present has 134 MLAs, including the ones accused of defection. The strength of the Mahagathbandhan, which includes RJD, Congress and three Left parties, has dwindled to 108.

The RJD has also lost the status of the single-largest party, with its effective strength falling to 75, three less than that of the BJP even if the detectors are not added to the latter's tally.

The effective strength of the Congress has been reduced to 17.