Five Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MPs on Friday met Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and urged him to reject the claim of four of their dissident members of a merger with the BJP.
The delegation told Naidu that the TDP would move an application for disqualification of the MPs and asked him not to treat the defecting MPs as part of the BJP Parliamentary Party.
"This is to bring to your kind attention that there is no merger of TDP with the BJP," the five MPs said in their submission to Naidu.
"Since there has been no organisational merger between the TDP and the BJP, their resolution for the merger of the TDP Legislature Party in the Rajya Sabha with that of the BJP should be rejected at the outset," the TDP MPs said.
Later talking to reporters, they said the Rajya Sabha Chairman had no independent power to decide whether there had been a split or merger under the anti-defection law and such a decision could be taken only when the question of disqualification arises.
In their application to Naidu, the five MPs referred to the claim by the four dissident members of having conducted a meeting of the TDP Legislature Party in the Rajya Sabha and maintained that no notice had been sent to its Rajya Sabha member. "Hence it may be considered that no such meeting has been conducted," they said.
They said the four members had neither the authority nor were they empowered to merge the TDP Legislature Party in the Upper House with the BJP.
"It is apparent from their conduct that they have voluntarily given up their membership as members of the TDP by claiming to have conducted the meeting and also by joining the BJP, thereby incurring disqualification under Paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India."
"Even from their letter, it is obvious that they are not competent to claim merger of the organisational wing of the TDP with that of the BJP. Any decision regarding the merger of the organisational wing of the TDP with any other political party shall only be considered by the TDP's organisational wing in accordance with the Constitution of India.
"Consequently the 4 Rajya Sabha members are neither competent nor do they have the right to seek a merger of TDP Legislature Party in the Rajya Sabha with the BJP, as the original political party, i.e., the TDP did not merge with the BJP," the five MPs said.
Seeking rejection of the dissident resolution for merger, the TDP MPs quoted a Supreme Court judgement which said "under the scheme of the Tenth Schedule the Speaker does not have an independent power to decide that there has been split or merger as contemplated by Paragraphs 3 and 4 respectively and such a decision can be taken only when the question of disqualification arises in a proceeding under Paragraph 6."
The TDP delegation comprised Lok Sabha MPs Jayadev Galla, Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu and Kesineni Srinivas and Rajya Sabha members K Ravindra Kumar and Thota Seeta Ramalakshmi.
YS Chowdary, C M Ramesh, T G Venkatesh, all from Andhra Pradesh, and G Mohan Rao who hails from Telangana, had claimed to have merged themselves with the BJP. They later joined the BJP in the presence of its Woking President J P Nadda.
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