The Telangana high court on Wednesday served fresh notices on state assembly speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy for accepting the “merger” of a group of 12 Congress MLAs with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.
The high court was acting on a petition filed by Telangana-Pradesh Congress Committee president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and Congress legislature party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who challenged the Constitutional validity of the Bulletin issued by the Speaker allowing the merger of 12 legislators with the ruling TRS.
The court also served notices on assembly secretary, the Election Commission of India and the 12 MLAs who announced that they had merged the CLP with the TRS legislature party, as they constituted two-thirds of the party strength in the assembly.
On Tuesday, too, the high court issued a similar notice to the assembly speaker, legislative council chairman, assembly secretary and the Election Commission based on a separate petition by the Congress leaders seeking to disqualify the Congress MLAs, besides four MLCs who defected to the TRS. Both the petitions will now be heard together four weeks later.
“The merger of the CLP with the TRSLP is not valid according to the Constitution, as the defected MLAs had not taken permission from the Congress party to hold the CLP meeting. They didn’t even inform the present CLP leader. No part of a national party, even it is a majority group of the MLAs, can be merged with a regional party,” PCC counsel Ravishankar Jandhyala said.
Also read: Congress melts away in Telangana assembly after 12 MLAs merge with TRS
The Congress won 19 seats in the 119-member assembly. However, its strength had come down to 18 with the resignation of PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy following his election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda. Thereafter, 12 MLAs formed into a separate group and joined the TRS en masse last week.
Meanwhile, the defected MLAs held a press conference on Wednesday and declared that their merger with the TRS was according to the Constitutional norms. “We decided to join the TRS after differing with the Congress policies. We have realised that we have no future in the Congress which has been suffering from group politics and bankruptcy of leadership,” one of the MLAs R Kantha Rao said.
Stating that they had not received any notices from the court, he said they were ready to fight the legal battle in the court. He also threatened to file a defamation suit against the Congress leader if they made baseless allegations that they were sold out to the TRS.
However, AICC secretary Vamsichand Reddy demanded that if the defectors had any respect towards democracy, they should resign from their assembly membership and contest the by-elections again.
Jun 12, 2019 16:33 IST