'Legal action against Hebbar, Somashekhar for violating whip': BJP

Yeshwantpur MLA S T Somashekhar cross-voted, while Yellapur MLA Arabail Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 23:14 IST

Bengaluru: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly R Ashoka on Tuesday said that the BJP will take immediate steps to initiate legal action against two of its MLAs who cross-voted/abstained during the Rajya Sabha elections held on Tuesday.

Yeshwantpur MLA S T Somashekhar cross-voted, while Yellapur MLA Arabail Shivaram Hebbar abstained from voting.

After waiting till late the afternoon, anxious BJP leaders, led by its Chief Whip Doddangouda Patil, pasted a copy of the party whip’s notice outside Shivaram Hebbar’s room at the Legislature Home as the latter had gone incommunicado.

Ashoka held a meeting with BJP advocate cell president Vivek Reddy to chalk out legal strategies. 

“I consulted our state legal cell president and high court lawyer Reddy in this regard. We will ask the Assembly Speaker to initiate action against him (Somashekhar),” Ashoka said. 

Vivek Reddy told reporters separately that Somashekhar’s action would attract various provisions of the law and he could be immediately suspended before disqualification. 

Plea in court

“If the Assembly Speaker tries to defer the party’s disqualification petition, then there is provision for the party to seek High Court or Supreme court’s intervention to direct the Speaker to conclude the proceedings against such erring MLAs,” Vivek Reddy said.

Terming Somashekhar’s decision to cross vote a “political suicide,” Ashoka said that the BJP always treated him with great respect after he quit the Congress and joined the party by offering him a powerful ministry as well making him the Mysuru district’s in-charge minister. “He was never treated disrespectfully in the BJP,” he asserted.

On Hebbar’s absence, Ashoka said that Hebbar was in contact with him till 10 am, but after that he went incommunicado.

However, the party has sent its whip to him on his mobile phone and also to his personal assistant’s mobile, besides pasting the copy on the main door of his room in the Legislature Home.

‘Conscience vote’

Soon after voting, Somashekar told reporters that he voted as per his “conscience”.

“I went by my conscience and voted for those who worked for building schools and carrying out development works in my constituency,” he added.

Both the MLAs had defected from the Congress to the BJP along with 15 others, bringing down the 14-month Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy in 2019 and facilitating the installation of the BJP government.

(Published 27 February 2024, 23:14 IST)

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