Four rebel Cong MLAs have responded to notices: Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar

Four rebel Cong MLAs have responded to notices: Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar
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Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar said on Friday that the four rebel Congress MLAs have responded to notices he issued to them on a petition by the party, seeking their disqualification under the antidefection law

Bengaluru: Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar said on Friday that the four rebel Congress MLAs have responded to notices he issued to them on a petition by the party, seeking their disqualification under the anti-defection law.

He said he would give a verdict after hearing both sides. Official sources said the hearing is scheduled for March 12 in the afternoon. "After hearing both sides, I will have to give my verdict...I cannot reveal things to the media beforehand," Kumar said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said that notices were given to all the four MLAs, based on the petition given and all of them had given an explanation. "Hearings need to happen in accordance with the law, for it (case) to be decided," Kumar said.

Referring to rebel MLA Umesh Jadhav quitting his assembly membership, the Speaker said the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business book were clear on how to deal with a resignation.

Also, the Constitution and 10th Schedule (anti-defection law) are clear on the matter, he said. "...We have sought some clarification, we have written a letter to him (Jadhav)...to which he will need to give us an explanation," he added.

Jadhav had on Monday submitted his resignation to the Speaker and subsequently joined BJP on March 6 at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Kalburgi, from where he is tipped to be the saffron party’s candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, against Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Congress has petitioned the Speaker, seeking disqualification of Jadhav, along with Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathali, under the anti-defection law.

The four MLAs had kept the party on tenterhooks for several weeks, defying its whip twice to attend the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meetings on January 18 and February 8 and had skipped the early part of the budget session.

During the recent political turmoil that engulfed the state, following BJP's alleged attempts to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government by poaching their MLAs, the four MLAs had gone incommunicado and were said to be camping in Mumbai, with a plan to jump ship to the saffron party.

After they refused to fall in line, the Congress had petitioned the Speaker to disqualify them under the Anti-Defection Law.

However, the four MLAs subsequently attended the session and voted in favour of the finance bill, with an intention not to violate the whip and avoid any stringent action.

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