MPs axed from India’s Rajya Sabha for opposing Nitish Kumar

MPs axed from India’s Rajya Sabha for opposing Nitish Kumar
MPs axed from India’s Rajya Sabha for opposing Nitish Kumar

Disqualified JD-U parliamentarians had opposed Bihar CM’s move to quit secular alliance and form government with the BJP

Patna: Two Indian parliamentarians with socialist backgrounds, Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar, have been disqualified from the Upper House of Parliament for their “fight against the party leadership”.

An official communication released by Rajya Sabha (RS) chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu late on Monday evening said both cease to be members with immediate effect.

The parliamentarians, who have their bases in Bihar, were disqualified after their Janata Dal United party, which is headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, petitioned the RS chairman seeking cancellation of their House membership on the ground that they had defied the party leadership.

The two leaders rebelled against the party leadership when Kumar, in a sudden move, broke alliance with the erstwhile ruling Grand Alliance and returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp in July this year.

Kumar’s party strangely had won the last state elections against the BJP-led NDA.

Subsequently, they even attended the “Drive out BJP to save the country” rally held in Patna in August this year by the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — despite warnings by their party — and voiced their disapproval of the party’s move to form government with the BJP.

They also held a “save composite culture” programme at which all the prominent opposition party leaders were invited.

The fight, however, took a new turn when the MPs approached the Election Commission (EC) to stake claim over the party’s symbol claiming their faction the “real” JD-U.

They suffered the first setback when the EC rejected their claim and instead recognised the other faction led by Kumar as the real JD-U.

Subsequently, they moved the Delhi High Court against the EC order but the court did not give them any relief.

The party in the meanwhile has described their disqualification as the “victory of democracy” but the parliamentarians are not ready to take things lying down and have announced plans to move the Supreme Court against the decision.

Yadav who has his active political career spread over four decades even vowed to continue his fight against saving the democracy claiming he has been punished for speaking against the “undemocratic style” of functioning in the party.

“I am disqualified from Rajya Sabha as Mahagathbandan (Grand Alliance) which was formed to defeat NDA in Bihar & after 18 months to break it & joining NDA to remain in power & if to speak against this undemocratic style is my fault I will continue to fight to save democracy,” Sharad tweeted on Tuesday. This is the first time in many years that Yadav will not be a member of any House.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad expressed shock over the disqualification of the two leaders. “What was their fault? Both were disqualified from the Rajya Sabha out of jealousy and political enmity. The people are watching all these dramas and will teach a lesson to the ruling party for meting out shabby treatment to the two leaders,” said Prasad.

Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, on the other hand, found fault with the RS chairman’s decision to disqualify Yadav and his associate while questioning the delay on a decision over two parliamentarians who joined the BJP in the Lok Sabha.

“Like Caesar’s wife, the Rajya Sabha chairman’s decisions must be above questioning. But the disqualification of Rajya Sabha MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar casts a shadow,” Yechury tweeted on Tuesday.

“The petition was filed on September 2 and the decision is out on December 4. The speed is mind-boggling. Similar cases are pending in Lok Sabha for over a year. So political affiliation is the only thing that matters?” Yechury added.