Rebel JD(U) MPs, Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar, both of whom are contesting the official Nitish Kumar faction's move seeking their disqualification, have questioned Rajya Sabha chairman's jurisdiction in the matter.
Anwar told a press conference that their alleged defiance of the party's directive to not attend an opposition rally in Patna is an issue which the JD(U)'s disciplinary committee should be looking into, and it does not call for their disqualification from Parliament.
"I told the Rajya Sabha chairman at the hearing yesterday that it was not part of his jurisdiction," he said, claiming his view had constitutional backing.
Party sources said Yadav has also taken a similar stand.
Anwar said Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu should refer the matter to the ethics committee of the House and not take a decision in a "hurry".
He noted that the Rajya Sabha committee had also looked into criminal allegations against liquor baron Vijay Mallya, a former MP who later resigned, Anil Sahni, a JD(U) MP against whom the CBI has registered a case.
"Unlike Mallya and Sahni we have not been accused of any crime. So our matter too should be refereed to the committee so that it can make a considered judgement. What is the hurry? Disqualifying an MP is like hanging him. Natural justice demands that that we should be given a fair treatment," Anwar said.
Both MPs had attended an opposition rally in Patna organised by Lalu Prasad's RJD after JD(U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar walked out of the 3-party Grand Alliance and joined hands with the BJP.
JD(U) then wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman, seeking their disqualification for "anti-party" activities.
The party claimed there were precedents of MPs getting disqualified for anti-party activities.
Arun Shrivastava, a general secretary of the Yadav faction, told reporters their group enjoys a majority in the party's national council.
"The Election Commission is hearing the matter and we are hopeful that it will recognise us as the real JD(U)," he said.
The Kumar-led party has asserted than an overwhelming number of the JD(U)'s elected members and office bearers, including the members in the national council, back Kumar.
The Grand Alliance which consisted of the JD(U), RJD and Congress, had drubbed the NDA in the last Assembly polls in the state and formed its government.
Yadav and Anwar were among a few elected representatives who denounced Kumar for joining forces with the BJP and forming a coalition government in Bihar which, they said, was against the mandate given by people in the Assembly polls.