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Himachal Pradesh Speaker issues show cause notice to 3 Independent MLAs

SHIMLA: The three Independent legislators who had resigned from the assembly last week were on Wednesday issued a show cause notice by the Vidhan Sabha by the Speaker, officials said.

Their replies have to be submitted by April 10, they said.

Confirming that the notice has been issued to Independent MLAs, Vidhan Sabha Secretary Yashpal Sharma told PTI that Congress legislative party has submitted that the three MLAs ”resigned under duress”, not voluntarily”. ”We have sought explanation from them in this regard,” he said.

The three independent MLAs — Ashish Sharma from Hamirpur, Hoshiyar Singh from Dehra and K L Thakur from Nalagarh had submitted their resignation on March 22, a day before they joined the BJP along with six disqualified Congress MLAs. All nine legislators had voted in favour of the BJP in the recently held Rajya Sabha elections.

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania had maintained that the Independent MLAs have submitted their resignation but they have not cited their reasons. It will recorded and necessary procedure would be followed, he said.

Congress legislators and Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh have been vocal against the nine MLAs and have accused the BJP of pressurising the legislators.

Congress MLAs Sanjay Avasthi and Bhuvneshwar Gaur have also registered a case of electoral offences, bribery and criminal conspiracy against Hamirpur independent MLA Ashish Sharma and Rakesh Sharma, father of Gagret MLA Chaitanya Sharma, who is among the six former Congress leaders.

The case against them was registered under sections 171C and 171E (undue influence on elections and bribery) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and sections 7 and 8 (public servant taking undue advantage) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, police had said.

All the three Independents had sought BJP tickets during the 2022 assembly polls but they were denied tickets and contested as Independents.

Later when the Congress formed the government with 40 legislators, the three Independents had supported the government. However, three Independent MLAs, along with six Congress rebels voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections last month.

The rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified for defying a whip to be present in the House and vote in favour of the ruling Congress during cut motions and budget. They also joined the BJP and were given assembly tickets from their respective assembly seats.

”Our conscience did not allow voting for an outsider — Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi — in the Rajya Sabha election and it was our right to vote per our wish,” the Independents had said and Sukhu of political vendetta. The Election Commission of India had announced byelections in the six assembly seats after the disqualification of the Congress legislators. The bypolls will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls in four seats in the last phase on June 1.

With the disqualification of six Congress MLAs, the strength of the ruling Congress came down from 40 to 34, including the speaker, in the 68-member Assembly. The BJP has 25 legislators.

Source: Press Trust of India



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