Hyderabad: Former minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir has strongly condemned the ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’ of merger of 12 Congress MLAs into TRS.
Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Friday, Shabbir Ali said that the merger was an open violation of the Constitution and set democratic and legislative practices in the country.
He said that the circular issued on behalf of Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy endorsing merger of 12 Congress MLAs into TRS Legislature Party was misleading and aimed at cheating the democratic institutions, including courts. He said an impression was given as if all 12 MLAs met on June 6 to seek merger with TRS.
He gave the chronological order to show that the TRS party’s heinous ‘Operation Aakarshan’ was carried from March 2nd to June 6th. He said two MLAs Kantha Rao Rega and Athram Sakku joined TRS on March 2 followed by Chirumarthi Lingaiah (March 10), Haripriya Banoth (March 11), Patlolla Sabitha Indra Reddy (March 13), Kandala Upender Reddy (March 14), Devi Reddy Sudheer Reddy (March 15), Vanama Venkateswara Rao (March 18), Beeram Harshavardhan Reddy (March 20), Jajala Surender (March 27), Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy (April 22) and Rohith Reddy (June 6).
Shabbir Ali said as per the provisions of Anti-Defection provisions under the Xth Schedule, an MLA automatically gets disqualified if he/she ‘Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party’. He said the moment defected MLAs announced their intention to join the TRS, they were automatically disqualified.
Therefore, deemed to be disqualified MLAs have no right to meet and pass a resolution seeking their merger into another party. He said there have been several precedents across the country where MLAs were disqualified for speaking against the party on whose symbol they got elected.
Further, he said the defections were no secret. Whenever an MLA defected, the Congress party promptly filed petitions with the Speaker seeking their disqualification. However, he said that the Speaker took no action or even served any notice to the MLAs concerned. Similarly, he said that Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan remained a mute spectator although two separate petitions were submitted to him on March 23 and April 25.
“Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Speaker Pocharam Srininvas Reddy and Governor Narasimhan have brutally murdered the Constitution and democracy in Telangana. While KCR acted in arrogance of power, the Speaker behaved like a slave of KCR.
Unfortunately, the Governor has shown disloyalty to the Constitution by not performing his duties. They have turned Telangana into a symbol of dictatorship, political slavery and treason,” alleged Shabbir Ali.
Shabbir Ali also dismissed the allegations of Congress encouraging similarly defection of TRS MLAs while it was in power in 2006. He said that 10 TRS MLAs had revolted against KCR and disqualification petitions were moved against them in February 2007.
However, the then Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy, who is now with TRS, took action only after 18 months. He said on December 22, 2008, the then Speaker Suresh Reddy disqualified three rebel TRS MLAs and accepted the resignation of six other MLAs. Instead of blaming Congress, KCR should ask Suresh Reddy for delayed action.
“If you are accusing the then Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy of engineering defections in TRS in 2006-07, then why you are now sailing with YSRCP and praising YSR’s leadership?” he asked. He claimed that under Congress rule, the Speaker had absolute freedom to perform his duties.
Unlike Madhusudan Chary and Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, the Assembly Speakers under Congress period were not puppets. On March 2, 2012, the then Speaker Nadendla Manohar had disqualified 16 Congress MLAs for violation of party whip.
He also pointed out that in 2004 elections, Danam Nagender had won on TDP ticket from Asifnagar seat. Later, he returned to Congress party only after resigning as MLA. He also lost by-elections and remained out of power till 2009. “Was it not easier for YSR to make Nagender a minister in his cabinet as KCR did with Talasani Srinivas Yadav? But Congress and YSR believed in democracy and followed Constitution,” he said.
Shabbir Ali said that the unethical defections and undemocratic mergers would not harm the Congress as it has a history of bouncing back after serious setbacks. He pointed out that the Congress had lost badly in 1983 and 1985 elections by winning just 60 and 50 seats respectively.
But it bounced back with 181 seats in 1989 elections. Similarly, in 1994 elections, Congress had won just 26 out of 294 seats. It increased its tally to 91 in 1999 and returned to power with 185 seats in 2004 Assembly.
“By engineering defections and formalising an illegal merger, KCR has gained nothing but only added 12 more slaves in his Darbar. But the Congress party will go to Janata Darbar. Let KCR enjoy the support of 104 MLAs and we will win the support of 4 Crore people of Telangana,” he announced while informing that the Congress party would also wage a legal battle against the illegal merger. (INN)