This refers to the Chinese Whispers item “New partners” (July 29). Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s ire at the induction of all six of her Rajasthan MLAs into the Congress by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last year is understandable. She is right when she says that Gehlot is crying foul over the poaching of MLAs by the BJP, but was ecstatic when the six BSP MLAs merged with the Congress. If he enjoyed the prospect of defection from other parties, he must also withstand the pain of defection from his own party.
The 91st Amendment to the Constitution in 2003 had strengthened the anti-defection law by increasing the bar on the number of MLAs switching sides from a third to two-thirds. The Rajasthan High Court has rightly junked the plea of BJP MLA Madan Dilwar, challenging the speaker’s decision to allow the merger of the six BSP MLAs with the Congress. If defection has to be prevented, even if all the lawmakers of a party cross over to the other side, defectors should be disqualified first. Further, the provisions of the anti-defection law must be invoked even when lawmakers defy the dictum of their party high command at the time of voting in a House.
K V Seetharamaiah Hassan
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